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'9to5' Labor Movement Filmmakers And Cast Holding Virtual Talk March 9

Courtesy Walter Reuther Library/Wayne State University
University of Cincinnati clerical workers protest on the Clifton campus in the mid-1980s.

Oscar-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, and some of the Cincinnati women featured in their 9to5: The Story Of A Movement documentary, will participate in a free virtual event March 9.

WCET-TV and Dayton's WPTD-TV, partners in Southwestern Ohio's non-profit Public Media Connect, are organizing the discussion about making the 90-minute film which premiered Feb. 1 on PBS' Independent Lens.

Credit Dorothy Kleinholt photo / Courtesy Steven Bognar
Courtesy Steven Bognar
Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert live in Yellow Springs.

Bognar and Reichert, of Yellow Springs, will be joined by their Cincinnati-based editor Jamie Meyers Schlenc; 1980s University of Cincinnati union organizers Donna Samuels and Carolyn Schwier; and Jim Wiener, chief programming officer for the two PBS affiliates.

Credit Courtesy Walter Reuther Library/Wayne State University
UC workers on strike in the 1980s.

My 9to5 review pointed out how UCand Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College played a big role in the movement after Working Women and the Service Employees International Union joined forces in the 1980s to organize 20 million U.S. women clerical workers through "Local District 925" offices.

Samuels, Schwier and Inge Goldschmidt talked in the film about the UC organizational efforts by Deborah Schneider, who later married Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Tom Mooney. The filmmakers also extensively interviewed Schneider, a Service Employees International Union deputy trustee living in Washington, D.C.

UC unionization initially failed by 29 votes, before being approved in a second vote two years later. It took another 18 months for UC office workers to get their first contract. 9to5 includes Cincinnati TV news film of the workers walking off their jobs at 10 a.m. one day during the stalled negotiations with new UC President Joseph Steger.

Anyone interested in attending the virtual event should RSVP by March 8 at the CETconnect website or the ThinkTV website. The direct event link will be shared March 9 with those who have registered.

Kellie May, communications and digital initiatives manager for both stations, says there is no limit on how many can view the event. "If you are interested in sharing this … feel free to do so," she says.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.