Turk PhD Dissertation Women in the Age of Title VII.pdf - THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO EQUALITY ON TRIAL WOMEN AND WORK IN THE AGE OF TITLE VII A

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Unformatted text preview: THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO EQUALITY ON TRIAL: WOMEN AND WORK IN THE AGE OF TITLE VII A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE DIVISION OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY BY KATHERINE LEE TURK CHICAGO, ILLINOIS JUNE 2011 UMI Number: 3460246 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent on the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UMI 3460246 Copyright 2011 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106 - 1346 © 2011 by Katherine Lee Turk TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED IN NOTES………………………..…………...PAGE V ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS………………………………………………...…………PAGE VIII ABSTRACT…………………………………………………………………………...PAGE XII INTRODUCTION WORKING WOMEN: FROM PROTECTION TO EQUALITY………….....PAGE 1 CHAPTER I. ‘CAN’T SOMETHING BE DONE FOR US?’: WORKERS’ RIGHTS CLAIMS AND THE CHALLENGE OF IMPLEMENTING SEXSPECIFIC PROTECTIVE LABOR LEGISLATION, 1908-1964………..…..PAGE 22 II. ‘INTO THE TROUBLED WATERS OF SEX DISCRIMINATION’: THE NASCENT EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION AND THE PROBLEM OF SEX, 1965-1972...………..….…PAGE 70 III. WOMEN’S WORKPLACE ORGANIZING AND CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS IN THE WAKE OF TITLE VII …………………………….......PAGE 121 IV. OUT OF THE REVOLUTION, INTO THE MAINSTREAM: EMPLOYMENT ACTIVISM IN THE NOW SEARS CAMPAIGN AND THE GROWING PAINS OF LIBERAL FEMINISM……………...…..PAGE 183 V. SEX DISCRIMINATION CASE STRATEGY, LABOR POLITICS AND WORK PROCESS IN THE NEW YORK HOTEL INDUSTRY…..…..PAGE 225 VI. ‘OUR MILITANCY IS IN OUR OPENNESS’: GAY EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN CALIFORNIA AND THE QUESTION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION UNDER TITLE VII……………………..……....PAGE 275 VII. ‘MACHINES WORK, SECRETARIES THINK’: THE COMPARABLE WORTH MOVEMENT AND THE PROBLEM OF SKILL IN SUPPORTIVE OFFICE WORK………………………………PAGE 324 VIII. ‘AFTER A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF WORK HE WOULD TURN THE CONVERSATION TO DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL MATTERS’: SEXUAL HARASSMENT, JOHNSON CONTROLS AND THE DENIAL OF SEX IN THE WORKPLACE……………..….…….PAGE 363 iii CONCLUSION CLASS MATTERS: THE MIXED LEGACY OF TITLE VII AND THE LIMITS OF SEX EQUALITY……………………………...……...PAGE 412 BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………………………....PAGE 419 APPENDIX…….…………………………………………………………….………....PAGE 449 iv LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED IN NOTES 9 to 5 Records of 9 to 5: National Association of Working Women ACLU American Civil Liberties Union Archives, 1950-1990, Series 3 ACLU-GRC American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter Records AFSCME-McEntee Gerald McEntee Papers AFSCME-Program American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Program Development Department Records AFSCME-Wurf Jerry Wurf Papers BB Berkeley Barb BWF Newspaper Guild of New York Betsy Wade Files CCB Crain’s Chicago Business CDN Chicago Daily News CNOW Records of the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women CDD Chicago Daily Defender CST Chicago Sun-Times CT Chicago Tribune CTP Charles Thorpe Papers DOL-Wirtz General Records of the Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary of Labor, Records of Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz, 1962-1969 EEOC-CCF Office of the EEOC Chairman Chronological Files, 1969-1979 EEOC-CD Records of EEOC Compliance Division Files, 1965-1966 EEOC-FDR Records of EEOC Chairman Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., 1965-1966 v EEOC-RP Records of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Reports and Publicity, 1966-1967 EEOC-Shulman Records of EEOC Chairman Stephen Shulman, 1966-1968 FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 HM-SS Harvey Milk-Scott Smith Collection Holleran Susan Holleran Papers HTC-Bobst New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council Records HWP Howard Wallace Papers LAGLC Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Records LAT Los Angeles Times Ms. Letters Ms. Letters Collection Newman-LOC Winn Newman Papers NOW Records of the National Organization for Women NOW-Collins Mary Jean Collins National Organization for Women Officer Papers NOW-LDEF National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund Records NYT New York Times NYTMC New York Times Minority Class Action Lawsuit Records NYTWC New York Times Women’s Caucus Records ONE ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives PCS Records of the Pacific Counseling Service and Military Records RCP Rob Cole Papers RDP Robert DeSantis Papers SEIU 9 to 5 Service Employees International Union District 925 Records vi SLR Sexual Law Reporter SFC San Francisco Chronicle WB-B Women’s Bureau Bulletins WB-DLS General Records of the Women’s Bureau Division of Legislation and Standards 1920-1966 WB-DRM Women’s Bureau Division of Research and Manpower Program Development, 1940-1945 WB-DRR Records of the Women’s Bureau, Division of Research Reports of the Bureau, 1941-1942 WB-GC Women’s Bureau General Correspondence 1919-1948 WB-GCII Women’s Bureau General Correspondence 1948-1963 WB-SFD Records of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor Subject Files of the Director, 1964-1970 WB-WIS Women in Industry Service, Records re: Women in World War I, 19181919 WEC Women Employed Collection WP Washington Post vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am thankful for the financial support I have received during my years as a graduate student. A Social Sciences Divisional Phoenix Fellowship provided crucial assistance during the middle years of my doctoral program. Teaching fellowships from the Department of History, the Center for Gender Studies, and the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago helped me to get my feet wet as an instructor and proved financially rewarding as well. Grants from the Department of History and a Provost’s Summer Fellowship from the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago allowed for extended research and conference presentations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Fellowships from the American Society for Legal History and the Mellon Foundation allowed me to spend an entire year researching and writing as I coaxed the dissertation to its conclusion. Many excellent teachers and advisors have supported and challenged me. Ken Price, the formidable and fearsome A.P. U.S. History teacher at Lyons Township High School, first convinced me that I had a knack for history. At Northwestern University, Nancy MacLean, Peter Hayes and Lynne Curry were excellent teachers and mentors. They stoked my curiosity until I was convinced to make studying history a career. At the University of Chicago, George Chauncey and Thomas Holt taught challenging seminars that transformed my approach to the study and craft of history. Jim Grossman’s colloquia on race and Chicago opened my eyes to the study of culture and urban spaces. As supervisors, Jane Dailey, Adam Green, Rachel JeanBaptiste, and Kristen Schilt were wonderful teachers of pedagogy and role models of professionalism and empathy. Conversations with Jane Dailey, Adam Green, and Ramon Gutierrez helped me to hone my inquiries and to consider how to engage the academic world viii beyond the University of Chicago. Margot Canaday, Mary Anne Case and Dorothy Sue Cobble graciously provided frank advice and detailed feedback on drafts of chapters. I am also deeply grateful to the master historians who have served on my dissertation committee. Their frequent feedback, probing questions, generosity and encouragement were crucial resources as I framed and implemented this study. Christine Stansell kindly agreed to help supervise my project after only a brief time on the faculty at Chicago. Her command of the field, attention to detail and argument, and expert balance of critique and support have both enriched my dissertation and inspired me personally as I contemplate the kind of mentor I hope to be. James Sparrow has been a tireless advocate and guide to the academic world. His meticulous and insightful feedback and honest advice have both strengthened my project and motivated me to be patient and persistent at crucial turning points during my time at the University of Chicago. But it is fitting that my first and last encounters as a graduate student at the University of Chicago were with Amy Dru Stanley. More than anyone, she has shepherded my intellectual growth and modeled rigorous and resonant scholarship. Her instruction and mentorship have transformed my understanding of the forces that drive historical change—the law, the market, politics, class and gender—and have given me a frame by which to interrogate their evolution. Amy’s exacting standards, attention to detail, and frequent and sagacious commentary have immensely improved my work and forever reshaped my thinking. For her relentless support of my ideas and unshakable commitment to my development, I thank her. My graduate school experience was also enriched by countless classes, conversations and workshops with my peers in the History Department. Thanks to Thomas Adams, C. J. Alvarez, Jake Betz, Chris Dingwall, Susannah Engstrom, Darryl Heller, Sam Lebovic, Alison Lefkovitz, ix Sarah Levine-Gronningsater, Monica Mercado, Sarah Miller-Davenport, Celeste Moore, Dwaipayan Sen, Katy Schumaker, Peter Simons, Susan Gaunt Stearns, Anthony Todd, Christopher Todd, and many others. My closest friendships sustained me over the past six years. My quality of life in Chicago took a significant hit when Betty Luther Hillman moved away. Fortunately she is an excellent long-distance friend, critic, and support—and I know we will always be close allies. It is nearly impossible to imagine graduate school without the friendship and intellectual companionship of Emily Remus. I am exceptionally thankful that wherever either of us relocates, we will always share both our professional world and our home base of greater Chicago. Kelly Guzman has been a steadfast friend and provider of advice about life and the law. And little did I know, as a sophomore in high school, that the free-spirited and formidable student director of our choir’s alto section would become one of my most treasured friends and fellow travelers. Since then, Kate Kokontis and I have shared the joys and pains of our academic and personal endeavors, and our friendship has only deepened as we have followed parallel paths in different cities. And Anthony Cotton has enhanced my life in ways I can hardly articulate. Ever since a starry night in rural Botswana in 1998, I have admired his generous spirit and his personal and professional commitments to social justice. He is one of the best people I know, and luckily for me, he loves me back. Other dear friends near and far have enriched my life immeasurably, whether I needed a new perspective on my intellectual preoccupations or a silly or serious distraction. Thanks to Erika Blackwell, Suzie Carroll, Susannah Chen, Erin Cullnan, Cassie Cushman, Jaime Huling Delaye, Kimberly Gelbwasser, Ali Goldstein, Leslie Stellwagen, Meg Wagner, and Sarah Webb. Thanks also to those who hosted me while I conducted research in far-off cities: Suzie Carroll x and Rob Ostheimer; Susannah Chen and Andy Yuan; Betty Luther Hillman and Ben Siracusa Hillman; and Anthony Cotton, Brian Elliot, Ali Goldstein, Kate Kokontis, Val Marone, and Emily Turk. My deepest debts are to the members of my family. When my sisters and I were kids, my parents often told us that the greatest gift they would ever give to any one of us was our two sisters. This proved difficult for me to believe at key moments during my adolescence, but they were surely correct. Beth Turk and Emily Turk are trusted confidantes, intellectual companions, co-conspirators, and my best friends. I am humbled and inspired by the morality and honesty with which they engage the world. My father, Charlie Turk, has always encouraged my educational pursuits, even when it meant signing on for the long haul. In many ways, my mother, Mary Lee Jontz Turk, has lived the graduate school experience with me. Her emotional, financial, and logistical support proved crucial again and again. Mom likes to tell people that I came to graduate school to better understand the struggles of her generation. That may be true, but she has likewise worked to understand and lessen the burdens of my struggles—personal, professional and everything in between. I am also exceptionally thankful that every time I asked her whether I would finish graduate school, she always answered in the affirmative (though she must have tired of answering the question). This dissertation is dedicated to my grandmother, Pauline Prather Jontz Lennon— eternally supportive, loving and resilient—who taught me about the personal edification and revolutionary potential inherent in learning about the world and the past; and to the memory of my uncle, Jim Jontz, who spent his life helping people work toward their highest ideals. I think of him daily, and I wish we could continue our conversation about this inquiry he helped inspire. xi ABSTRACT In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act outlawed sex discrimination in employment. Title VII replaced the bedrock of working women’s rights discourse, difference, with a new imperative, equality, but did not define sex discrimination or identify its remedies. Yet, just a few decades later, Title VII had transformed women’s status in the American workplace. This dissertation analyzes struggles to define and implement the sex discrimination provision of Title VII from 1964 to the early 1990s. In those years, the meaning of sex equality was hotly contested. Aggrieved women mobilized around Title VII within their workplaces and before government agencies. For such women, equality was personal in an era when the personal was newly politicized. Legal and interest group advocates harnessed and organized women’s complaints. Administrators streamlined government processes, categorized claims and mediated disputes. Courts weighed competing interests in light of the new legal imperative for sex equality. A political history from both the bottom-up and top-down, this dissertation expands existing conceptions of political actors and processes; probes the inherent challenges of implementing progressive ideology; and demonstrates both the power and the shortcomings of the law as a tool of social change. Women’s workplace activism outside of feminist and labor organizations demonstrates the breadth and ideological diversity of the second wave even as members of flagship feminist groups disputed the meaning of Title VII. Yet, the scope of sex equality law also was shaped by the government agencies and legal mechanisms that fielded and rendered women’s claims legally legible. As a result, the same processes that yielded some of the second wave’s most symbolic victories also narrowed the terms of sex equality. This study xii argues that contemporary definitions of workplace sex equality as facility of access to jobs and the downplaying of sex and gender at work represent the triumph of elite interests and administrative efficiency. This outcome silenced those who had argued that Title VII promised substantive and redistributive equality that could coexist with rather than ignore or penalize difference. As a result, systemic class and race inequalities among women were pushed outside the purview of the law just as the triumph of the service economy and growing disparities of wealth compounded those same inequalities. This study contributes to scholarly literature on women, gender and sexuality; labor, political economy, race, and class; claims-making and social movements; and law, citizenship and statecraft in postwar American society. It draws upon a range of legal, organizational, and personal records. Key collections include the records of federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor; interest groups such as the National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union; the records of labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union; attorneys’ and activists’ personal papers and oral history interviews; briefs, depositions, and other records of court proceedings; and more. Considered together, workers’ correspondence and complaints, activist and government records, and documents produced by legal confrontations reveal how struggles over Title VII gave way to broad consensus by the 1990s. xiii INTRODUCTION Working Women: From Protection to Equality In the golden years of the Civil Rights movement, a showdown between two powerful Democratic members of the House of Representatives over a bill designed to cripple Jim Crow marked a dramatic turning point in the fight for women’s rights. In February 1964, the late President John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act was near passage in the House. The previous year, Kennedy had decried interpersonal and institutionalized racism. He declared, “This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”1 Kennedy proclaimed social equality to be the cornerstone of American ideals. To begin to remedy the injustices he identified, Kennedy called for legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments.”2 The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee took a personal interest in shepherding Kennedy’s bill. New York City Democrat Emanuel Celler, the son of Catholic and Jewish immigrants, particularly favored the bill’s ban on discrimination based on national origin. Celler’s committee strengthened the bill, adding a ban on workplace discrimination and beefing up voting rights protections. Yet Howard K. Smith, a Democrat from Virginia and chairman of the House Rules Committee, planned to block the bill from advancing to the House floor. When Kennedy was killed in November 1963, Lyndon Johnson called on legislators to speed passage of the bill in Kennedy’s memory. Smith allowed 1 John F. Kennedy, “Civil Rights Address,” June 11, 1963. (September 22, 2010). 2 Ibid. 1 the bill to advance, but he suggested adding “sex” to Title VII, the provision that banned workplace discrimination.3 Before their fellow legislators, Smith and Cellar sparred over Smith’s proposed amendment. While Smith argued for extending workplace equality to women, Celler claimed that sex should be excluded from all of the bill’s protections. Smith cited his “desire to prevent discrimination against another minority group, the women…in the absence of which the majority group would not be here today.” beneficial to women. Celler disagreed that such an amendment would prove He cautioned his peers to consider “the import and repercussions concerning equal rights throughout American life.” He recited a list of questions that dramatized “the upheaval that would result from adoption of blanket language requiring total equality.” Celler alleged that the proposed sex amendment would remake the sex-specific obligations of citizens and family members. “Would male citizens be justified in insisting that women share with them the burdens of compulsory military service? What would become of traditional family relationships? What about alimony? Who would have the obligation of supporting whom? Would fathers rank equally with mothers in the right of custody to children? What would become of the crimes of statutory sex and rape?” Celler called the sex amendment an “entering wedge…The list of foreseeable consequences, I will say to the committee, is unlimited.”4 3 Smith did not suggest adding “sex” to all provisions of the Civil ...
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