IS A MAN
NOW MEMBERS PICKET BELL
Members of Houston NOW picketed
the offices of Southwestern Bell,
Main at Elgin, as part of a nationwide demonstration on March 29.
The demonstration protested
American Telephone & Telegraph's
continuing discrimination on the
basis of sex in violation of Title
VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
NOW members nationally protested
specifically the failure to give
relief to Lorena Weeks.
Ms. Weeks of Wadley, Georgia,
is the plaintiff in Weeks v. Southern Bell, the first sex discrimination case under Title VII to reach
the level of Circuit Court.
Ms. Weeks has been employed by
Southern Bell since June, 1947. In
March, 1966, she bid for the job
of switchman (a kind of repairman)
which paid $51.50 more per week
than she was earning.
Denied the job solely on the
basis of sex, Ms. Weeks filed a
complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. They investigated the case and ruled in
her favor but were unable to secure a voluntary agreement with
Ms. Weeks then sued in federal
court. Southern Bell claimed that
the job involved "strenuous activity" including lifting a 31-pound
relay time-testing set. Further,
a Georgia labor regulation forbade
women and minors lifting weights in
excess of 30 pounds(In the course
of her job as Outside Plant Clerk,
she daily lifted a 34-pound typewriter.). The district court agreed.
Since her attorney was unwilling to appeal, Ms. Weeks contacted
NOW. Sylvia Roberts, NOW Regional
Director-South, took her case. After the briefs were filed in Circuit
Court, the Georgia weight-lifting
regulation was rescinded.
The Fifth United States Circuit
Court ruled that sex was not a bona
fide occupational qualification
for the job of switchman and
that Southern Bell's refusal to consider Ms. Weeks for the job violated
Title VII. The Court held that
"Men have always had the right to
determine whether the incremental
increase in remuneration for strenuous, dangerous, obnoxious, or un-
romantic tasks is worth the candle.
The promise of Title VII is that
women are now to be on an equal
On March 4,1971, five years
after her initial bid, Lorena Weeks
was given the job of switchman.
She has received no back pay nor
has Southern Bell paid her attorney's fees as specified by Title
VII. The man who was given the
job she bid for in 1966 has worked
1360 overtime hours. She demands
that overtime be included in her
Ms. Weeks contends that had
she received the job in 1966,
she would not have had to borrow
money for her children's education
(at 12# from Southern Bell)nor to
sell her house.
Aileen Hernandez, NOW National
President, has written a letter
strongly castigating Southern Bell
Telephone Company for its treatment
of Lorena Weeks. The company should
be deluged with letters demanding
justice for Lorena Weeks. Also,
and just as important, Ms. Weeks
could use some words of encouragement and appreciation. Write to
Ms. Lorena Weeks, P.O.Box 52,
Wadley, Georgia. At Southern Bell
write Mr. Frank M. Malone, President,
67 Edgewood Ave., SE, Atlanta, Ga.
NOW MEETS WITH
Three members of Houston NOW
met with officials of Southwestern
Bell Telephone Company, March 25.
Barbara Farley, Gladys Guderian,
and Helen Cassidy met with Paul
Smith, area employment supervisor
for Southwestern Bell, and Ernest
Belts, Houston employment director,
to discuss that company's affirmative action program as it relates
to women and to inform them of
Weeks v. Southern Bell.
The NOW delegation asked that
Houston Area NOW be considered a
source of qualified applicants and
that Southwestern Bell maintain
systematic contacts on a continuing
basis with NOW to help them in the
hiring and promotion of women.
In August, 1970, the Federal
Communications Commission issued
an order calling for "common
carriers" to develop affirmative
action hiring programs for minorities and women. Common carriers
include telephone, telegraph, and
cable TV companies.
The order says that the companies must "establish, maintain,
and carry out a positive continuing program of specific practices
designed to assure equal opportunity in every aspect of employment
policy and practice."
NOW is involved nationally and
locally because the order stipur-
lates that a company must "communicate -its equal employment opportunity policy and program and its
employment needs to sources of
qualified applicants and solicit
their recruitment on a continuing
Houston NOW has a copy of
Southwestern Bell's affirmative
action program. If you are interested in studying this program,
helping write recommendations for
affirmative action, and meeting
with the company, call Helen
FOR RATE INCREASE
On March 29, the day of NOW's
national protest against the Bell
System, American Telephone & Telegraph petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for a rate
increase. A brief to deny the increase was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on
the basis of the company's discrimination practices.
The EEOC reports that 1000
claims of discrimination are filed
against AT&T annually. Seven percent of all discrimination claims
filed with the EEOC are against
The NOW National Board has
sent a telegram to the FCC in support of the petition by EEOC to deny
AT&T their requested rate increase
because of their discriminatory
hiring practices. Supporting telegrams should also be sent by chapters and individuals.
A FEMINIST PRAYER
B.J. Trale, a sexist pig,
Went all through life as "Mr. Big,"
Gave his mother utter hell,
Beat his wife to make her yell,
Gave his daughter not a penny,
Left his all to male heir, Benny.
He arrived at Heaven's shore,
Found there a surprise in store.
Back to Earth they sent B.J. Trale
To be reborn - as a Female!
Barbara Lane Farley