Photography Exhibits

Union Women's Alliance to Gain Equality (1971-1982)
Photographs by

Institute of Industrial Relations Gallery, UC Berkeley August 20, 2003 - January 16, 2004

click on photos for larger view and full caption

Bank of America is a Pig.
San Francisco, 1972.

Mae at Work.
San Francisco, 1974.

TWA Flight Attendants Strike for 45 Days.
San Francisco, 1973.

Workers on Strike at Jung Sai/Chinese
American Sewing Company.
San Francisco, 1974.

Household Technicians Organize.
San Francisco, 1972.

Rise Above Your Station.
Berkeley, 1973.

Nurses Strike, Oakland Kaiser, June 1974.
Women Electronics Workers Demand Union Rights, June, 1974.

Union W.A.G.E. Recognizes Women's Double-Plus Day, January, 1975.

Union Women Support Clerical Workers on Strike Against the Retail Clerks Benefit Fund. February, 1975.

Clerical Conference at the Institute for Industrial Relations, November, 1974.

All photos copyright 2003 Cathy Cade

Union Women's Alliance to Gain Equality (1971-1982)
Photographs by

Union Women's Alliance to Gain Equality (Union WAGE) was an organization of socialist and progressive women from 1971 through 1982. It supported women organizing in the work place and included struggles for democratic rank and file unions. Most of its work was in the San Francisco Bay Area, although chapters formed in Seattle, Indiana and New York. Growing out of a NOW conference at UC Berkeley in 1971, Union WAGE was distinctive in connecting older women who had been activists since the 1930s with a new generation of women labor activists, feminists and lesbian feminists.

WAGE members shared their hard-won organizing skills, taught each other parliamentary procedure, and collectively engaged in laying out newspapers and creating newsletters. They lobbied for an Equal Rights Amendment that would not only retain existing legislation protecting women but would extend these standards to men. WAGE members fought for, and successfully organized, the first California union women's conference sanctioned by the AFL-CIO. WAGE supported the United Farm Workers Union, and in coalition with other groups, worked against the Bakke decision (anti-affirmative action), the Briggs initiative (anti-gay) and San Francisco's Proposition L (anti-clerical workers).

Union WAGE members distributed their newspaper at work places and union meetings. In addition to articles on current actions, the newspaper profiled women activists of the past, and discussed health and safety issues, family issues, and the rights of lesbians and older women workers. A complete set of the newspaper and other materials are available at S.F. State University's Labor Archives and Research Center. Some of these newspapers are available at the IIR LIbrary.

Cathy Cade

Union WAGE was wonderfully supportive of me as a new photographer-they wanted my photos and they printed them big! I came from the Southern Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Liberation Movement. I was a raised-middle-class woman and new lesbian who wanted to support working class struggles. WAGE was the only place in the women's movement where I was taught by older women activists. I am very grateful to them for all that I learned. As resources become available I hope to keep working with the photographs and stories of Union WAGE -- passing information on to others as it was passed on to me. For more information about me (and more photographs) visit I can also be reached at 2202 Rosedale Avenue, Oakland, CA 94601 and (510) 532-3545.

This is the fifth in a series of photo exhibits sponsored by the Institute of Industrial Relations Library.

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