A look into the working world Thursday, February 09, 2012 By sarah zull
We girls take so much for granted these days. I mean the fact that we will get equal treatment and pay as the men, and expected to do no more no less then the men, that’s a given right? Well it was not always so. I interviewed Sherry Saxton, a friend and a retried Donnelley’s employee that worked there for over thirty years. Through talking with her, I got an interesting inside perspective into the past and progression of the working word for women The Crawfordsville branch has seen its share of excitement in years past. When promoted to distribution, one of Sherry’s jobs was to make certain that no important books would get out into public and into the wrong hands. After the Watergate incident with Nixon they were printing his biography, she had to padlock the book crates before shipping, and FedEx the keys to the recipient of the order. The employees would be searched before they could leave the factory to insure that they had not stolen any books. The same precautions had to be taken with other big titles such as; John Lennon’s Biography, and the Left behind and Harry Potter series. The factory working world has changed emmensly in the last thirty years. In the 1960’s men were required to wear a suit and tie and the women were in skirts and dresses. When women’s pantsuits first came out all the female employees were pumped, however the bosses were very much against such an idea as women wearing pants in the workplace. In the end, the issue was brought before the executive branch and the girls got official permission to wear suit pants to work. But large group of people still felt very uncomfortable about it. The positions women can hold has broadened as well. When Sherry first started working there women were only allowed to be secretaries, work in quality control or at the book assembly tables. Sherry became the first women analyst in the Crawfordesville plant, and had hopes of being promoted to a planner with more responsibilities and also a fatter pay check. But when she applied to her supervisor for the job he said that it was a job that a women could not handle. She tried to point out that she had unofficially been doing the duties of an analyst for months but it did not make any difference. She was told that she would train the men who would become planners, but she could not be one herself. In the end she refused to train anymore unless they would give her the job. Even when they relented, they did not want to give her the raise or the title for six months until she proved herself. Angry and insulted she refused the job until they gave her the same terms as the men she had trained. One other drastic change Sherry witness was the transition from Donnelleys being a family owned business to a corporate owned business. When her mother became very ill, it was necessary for her to take off work for almost a month to help take care of her. When she returned, she received her whole months pay and was not written up for her prolonged absence. However when the business changed hands, they were not so understanding. When her father needed her to look after him, she was again gone for a month. Before leaving she filled out all the necessary paper work to explain why she would be away from work. Upon her return, she receive no payment and was lectured and harassed by her supervisors, threatening to writer her up.