The following interview is with Ane Becker, 49, who has been an employee of Morse Chain for seventeen years. Following the Speak Out on Sexual Harassment she contacted WWU concerning sex discrimination against her by Morse Chain Co. Ms. Becker has been unable to obtain the promotion from "Purchasing Clerk" to "Buyer," despite her qualifications and experience. Men have obtained similar promotions with no more experience than she. Furthermore, her duties as a Clerk are virtually the same as those of a Buyer. Only the job titles and the salaries differ. A complaint has been filed with the Human Rights Commission, but no decision has yet been reached.
Carlie: When was the possibility of your promotion first mentioned?
Ane: About five years ago they indicated to me that I would be promoted. I didn't think it had been approved. But, in a few weeks they moved me from my corner office to a Buyer's office. I thought that either they wanted to watch my work closely or my promotion was coming through. Time went on and nothing happened.
I decided that I had to do something about it.
C: What are your feelings towards the other Buyers and their positions?
A: I have to train the new Buyers. I train them about my job so that they can be my boss. It gets to you.
C: You came to this job without a college degree. Have there been other Buyers who have moved through the level of your position and gone on without college degrees?
A: I could probably name 50 men at Morse Chain that have been promoted without college degrees, but not one woman. The last Buyer was a man who came in as a truck unloader and worked his way up through Buyer.
"I train them about my job so that they can be my boss."
C: After you were not promoted, what motivated you to file with Human Rights?
A: I don't have so many children to take care of anymore and I had a little more courage as far as losing my job. I decided that my world wouldn't end if I did lose my job.
C: It seems to be a comment on the working woman's situation, when she must wait until her children have been successfully raised before seeking a fair position at work. After the first Human Rights interview you sought further help. Why?
A: I was very rattled and poorly prepared for the procedure of the interview. Isolated as I was, I didn't think I made my case clear to the interviewer. That night I went to see Carmita Wood. She told me about Working Women United. I had put off calling her until the first hearings were over. But when Morse Chain started fighting me I thought: "Now I've got to have some help."
C: In terms of your personal goals, what did you or do you now expect from the Human Rights Commission?
A: At the time I went to them I was really trying to push Morse Chain into making me a Buyer. There is a big salary difference. I feel that I know as much as the new Buyers and I'm entitled to the same amount of money. At the time I was
unaware of back-pay benefits; I was seeking a promotion. Now that I am angry, I would like to go after them for back pay. I want to be sure that they are going to attend to every woman at Morse Chain; there are many that are capable of more than their positions demand. The only thing I can say is that since I started this I have never felt so Black. I know how the Blacks feel, not going anywhere no matter what they do. They have to push twice as hard, too.
by Carlie Cleveland
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