Ellen Bravo

Ellen Bravo, former director of 9to5, coordinates the Family Values @ Work and is the author of Taking on the Big Boys.

Recent Articles

Remaking 9 to 5? What Today’s Working Women Want to See

After viewing the 1980 film, a cross section of women recognized the persistent sexism—but noted a host of newer problems a remake would have to address.

AP Photo
AP Photo Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton at the premiere of "9 to 5" in Beverly Hills, 1980. The press has reported rumors that Hollywood may be planning a sequel to 9 to 5 —the 1980 hit film comedy that starred Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin as office workers taking abuse from, and then getting revenge against, their sexist boss. Which raises a question: How much of the story needs to change to make it relevant today? How much of the song? ... what a way to make a livin’ Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’ They just use your mind and they never give you credit It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it The song “9 to 5” may be running on a loop in your head these days. You might have heard it when Elizabeth Warren came on stage to announce that she is running for president. Or when Dolly Parton led the audience in a rendition at the Grammys tribute to her. Or when the Democratic Socialists of...

Arizona Labor Activists Preserve Local Control

Conservative state lawmakers lose gambit to scrap decade-old law allowing municipal governments to offer better employment benefits than the ones mandated by the state

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
Labor activists in Arizona fought to uphold the law, and this time, the law won. In some areas of the country, conservative state legislators are trying to pre-empt municipal labor regulations on issues like paid sick days. Arizona legislators passed a measure last year , HB 2579, that bans towns, cities, and counties from requiring employers to provide “additional employee benefits.” Conservative Republicans, who constitute a majority in both chambers of the Arizona legislature, trampled on their own state constitution and a 2006 law passed by voter initiative that allows local governments to pass higher minimum wage rates and other types of employment benefits than the state guarantees. Fortunately, 32 state legislators and city council members from three cities joined the United Food and Commercial Workers to stand up for working families. They asked a Superior Court judge to strike down the preemption law—and on September 8, the judge did just that. A home-rule...

The Architecture of Work and Family

We hear a lot of talk in the united states today about "family values" and "personal responsibility." And yet being a good family member here can cost you your job or a career opportunity, or imperil your health and security. Conversely, being a conscientious employee can jeopardize a loved one, destroy a relationship (or prevent you from forming one), add to the health or learning problems of a dependent child, force an aging parent into a nursing home, or create a public-health hazard. Choices Nobody Should Have to Make Consider these examples: Robbie, a member of the organization 9to5 in Milwaukee, lost her fast-food job when her son called to say that his younger brother had been hit by a car. "Leave and you're fired," the boss told her. Robbie pleaded with her manager to see the urgency of the situation, but he refused. She left anyway, and took the boy to the emergency room, where the hospital staff determined that he had a broken arm. Julie was in a much higher-paying job than...