Working-class women describe their jobs, 1938-1941.

Transcripts of hearings (Appeal Tribunal)

One of the duties of the Wisconsin Industrial Commission was to decide whether workers were entitled to unemployment compensation. Workers who had been denied it could appeal the decision at hearings, and the transcripts of those hearings reveal many details about working conditions. They also preserve the words of working-class people who never wrote books, published articles in magazines, or appeared in the newspaper. Linked below are transcripts of three hearings from the 1930s and 1940s in which women workers explained why they believe they deserved unemployment compensation. They are Barbara Schneider, a Milwaukee laundry worker who lost her job in 1938 over child care issues (hearing 1234); Claire Kelly, a "cigarette girl" in Milwaukee Hotels discharged in 1941 (hearing 3446); and Betty Beckley, a Milwaukee hotel maid who lost her job in 1941 (hearing 3588). Each discloses many facts about wages, hours, duties, power relations, and other aspects of daily life for women in working-class jobs. Their employers and other witnesses are also interviewed.

Related Topics: Industrialization and Urbanization
Depression and Unemployment
Creator: Wisconsin. Unemployment Compensation Division.
Pub Data: Unpublished manuscripts in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives. Series 1013, boxes 5, 9 and 10.
Citation: Wisconsin. Unemployment Compensation Division. "Transcripts of hearings (Appeal Tribunal), 1936-1978, 1982" (Series 1013, hearings 1234, 3446 and 3588 only). Online facsimile at Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 5/8/2021