Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Director Lee Grant has put together an incisive and clear documentary on eight women who went out on strike against their employer - a bank in Willmar, Minnesota. The women were not only passed over for managerial positions, they were required to train the all-male managerial staff who would be their supervisors. Using spontaneous interviews with townspeople, as well as interviews with the eight women and local labor leaders, the deep roots of gender prejudice are slowly pulled up for everyone to see. The church supported the men and the bank, the labor unions talked a lot and did nothing, and the townspeople backed off from any involvement. A National Labor Relations Board, in the end, ruled in favor of the bank. As a consequence, the women not only lost their jobs along with their demands for equality, they were not gainfully employed since the strike. The bank did poorly after the strike and was eventually sold, and work conditions for women in banks in the state of Minnesota were subsequently improved. It would seem that many of their sister workers benefitted from the courage of the eight women, but not the women themselves.