Women office workers began to organize in the 1970s, forming such groups as Women Employed in Chicago, Women Office Workers in New York, and 9 to 5 in Boston.
By 1976 there was a national organization, Working Women, to fight for better pay and conditions for office workers. In 1977 secretary Iris Rivera made headlines when she refused to make coffee for her male boss.
She declared, “(1) I don’t drink coffee, (2) it’s not listed as one of my job duties, and (3) ordering the secretary to fix the coffee is carrying the role of homemaker too far.”
When she was fired for her revolt, a number of secretaries staged a protest in Chicago’s business district, Women Employed lent its support, and she soon got her job back.