Director: Stephanie Antalocy
Synopsis (Women Make Movies): Perfect as a training tape or as an historical look at labor issues in the 1980s, TRADE SECRETS has been purchased by hundreds of colleges, libraries, community and women’s groups. “An ironworker, a sprinkler fitter, and an electrician; all women who describe their jobs and the physical and personal obstacles they overcame to get where they are. In the 1970’s, because of jobs with new equal employment laws, women began to enter the construction trades challenging the traditional male world. Regarded with hostility and suspicion, not all women completed their apprenticeships to be fully qualified as journey women. One who did, an ironworker, describes how tired she was each day as work ended because of her refusal to give up. An Asian woman who had been a secretary for ten years, speaks of suing for harassment when she lost a job after refusing to go out with her foreman. A female welder tells of getting burns until she developed skills and the eventual love of her job. Marrying a fellow welder from the shipyards, she relies on him to help out at home in raising their family. A sprinkler fitter describes the problems she had with men on the job until they saw that she could carry her own share of the work. A woman who teaches skills to women entering the trades explains that she teaches self-esteem and confidence building to women more than the skills themselves. The greater financial power of women in the trades, and their new sense of identity as journey women are discussed in this film about some of the changes taking place in the workplace today.