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Women in Trades

December 11, 1988

I enjoyed Harry Bernstein's column giving the facts about the poor record labor and business have in hiring women for construction industry apprenticeship programs. ("Another 'Whites Only' Barrier Crumbles," Nov. 29.)

However, I must take issue with the statement that "women have let men get away with prejudice by not pushing more forcefully and publicly to gain more apprenticeship positions."

Tradeswomen from organizations such as Women in the Building Trades, Step-up for Women and Tradeswomen of Philadelphia testified before a Congressional panel last spring that they had been fighting for years for equity for women in the trades. They said that in the late 1970s, they believed they were the first wave of women in the construction trades, but that because of the current Administration's refusal to enforce regulations, the door shut behind them.

Tradeswomen Inc. of San Francisco were pioneers in the struggle for equity for women in the trades; they are responsible for a consent decree in California that has led to our state's slightly better record.

Women have been pushing forcefully and publicly. Let's hope business, labor and government will now be as responsive as they should.

DONNA CASSYD

Los Angeles

The writer has served as a Congressional fellow on women and public policy issues.

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