Event—Public Programming

“bringing in the nukes”: A History of the 9to5 Job Survival Hotline


In the 1980s, the national organization 9to5 set up a hotline for women to call and report discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This toll-free hotline was staffed by volunteers and eventually a paid staff person who would dole out advice and referrals from a massive binder filled policies, laws, and legal aid organizations that could help women challenge illegal firings, sexual threats, stress, lack of affordable and accessible childcare, and other issues that many women workers dismissed as “part of the job.” In 1990, 9to5 secured the funds to set up a permanent job survival hotline. In March 1990, the hotline reported 1,210 calls with approximately 11,000 callers who could not get through because the line was busy. In this colloquium, I will share the archival materials I have uncovered in my research and place the Hotline into a historical context that explores how organizations have used the “hotline” system as a tool to organize against discrimination and violence.