I do hope that CM Sawant will keep this on her agenda to make sure the issue is addressed adequately. Sounds like it has not been so far.
This sort of thing has been going on at Light since the 1970s when women broke into the electrical trades there. A great deal of information is available about this online. Look into the history of women in the electrical trades at Light and what they’ve experienced there. Heidi Durham is one of the most well known. Light has a very long history of ignoring sexism, sex discrimination, sex harassment of women as well as racial discrimination, and has been sued for it more than once. Nothing ever seems to change there or in other City departments that employ trades women either. It’s truly appalling. I worked as a journeyman trades worker in several City departments over the course of ten years from 1990-2000 and had to deal with these very issues often. Obviously nothing has changed since then...
Thank you, Sydney, for writing another excellent article. This shit has got to stop, and is only being fueled by an abominable shitwipe illegally occupying the White House. Jasmine and others have my deepest empathy (I have experienced this, too, in the military, and was told to 'shut up and do [my] job') and sympathy.
Completely agree. Similar issues in my former dept. The quoted union rep nailed it: the departments can't adequately address issues they're simultaneously trying to bury. City resources (HR, Law) line up to support perpetrators/enablers and gaslight the aggrieved/victims.
This shit has been going on for the 27 years I've been in Seattle. I used to play rugby with a couple of women who apprenticed at SCL and it was appalling the stories they had of the delight so many of the men took in making the women miserable. The most disturbing stories were of instances of deliberate danger and sometimes serious injuries as a result.
I'm a woman that works for City Light and this article is so true. The system is set up so that as the victim you're the one who suffers if you try to get the behavior stopped. After pretty egregious crap that my co-worker did to me, my boss, in conjunction with that same co-worker, started a file on me of all the little mistakes that are a pretty normal part of work and that everyone does and no one cares about, like paperwork mistakes, minor crap. They even started to check the video cameras to see if I was even a minute late to work. This was to use against me in case I tried to complain. When another coworker complained on my behalf, HR interviewed the people in question and then asked some co-workers about office climate. The offenders straight up lied and the other people that knew about it didn't speak up in their interviews, they told me that because they weren't asked explicitly about the exact offense they didn't want to speak up and volunteer the information because, you know, that guy is generally good and they don't want to put his retirement in jeopardy. I made the choice not to press the issue because since the offenders lied and HR takes their word for it I'm the one that would have been moved to a different job and work location with a (probably large) pay cut.
@SCLGal, that sort of thing happened to me at the City every year for ten years. They create files on women like you and me who speak up. That’s how they try to get rid of women in the trades, as you know, by phony documentation. Clara Fraser was a friend of mine in the early 1980s and she invited me to several clandestine CERCL (Committee for Equal Rights at City Light) meetings. I don’t know if CERCL still exists but the fact it ever even formed to begin with is testament to the terrible history Light has in regard to women, and not just trades women. CERCL formed so public employees facing discrimination could find support in one another and find ways to fight against all the bullshit that was happening to us all the time. I only worked at Light as a temp for a very short period of time but it was with Clara Fraser. You might want to google her if you don’t know who she is. She was a helluva woman at Light who devoted her life to women like you and me so we might see some justice in our work.

The work I did for the City as a journeyman trades worker was easy compared to the sexist bullshit I had to face there every day, sexist bullshit from coworkers as well as from crew chiefs and managers. I was constantly having to defend myself against their bullshit. It never even mattered to them that I was already a journeyman when I came to work for the City. Why? Merely because I was a woman. After ten years at the City I ended up going back to the private sector in union building construction for another ten years. At least in the private sector I didn’t have to continually deal with the underhanded political machinations of discriminatory brown nosing coworkers or scaredy cat crew chiefs and power seeking managerial administrators all the time. Though the City benefits were good the endless bullshit was insufferable. I never thought I’d be grateful to go out on full disability after 25 years but I really and truly am.
Please come add your experiences and ideas for stopping sexual harassment to the next Radical Women, November 16, on "The power of #MeToo: Working women fight back against sexual assault."…
Why not do a story about how cutie-pie guys like Me have been on the receiving end of illegal mandates by jealous and envious male owners of business to NEVER hire us?
How about the Heterophobia in Seattle? It DOES exist . . . .

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