The Girls Are Coming
Author Peggie Carlson
Minnesota Historical Society Press (August 15, 1999)
From the front lines of the 1970s blue-collar workforce.
In 1974, lured by good wages, a 22-year-old African American college student from suburban Minneapolis started work as a pipefitter trainee for Minnegasco, a Minnesota natural-gas utility. Peggie Samples was one of the first four women hired by the company into non-secretarial jobs after the passage of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. On the job, she and her beautiful blond friend Sonny met men who were hostile, men who were helpful, and men who were simply flummoxed to find "girls" in their midst. "S'long as a guy does his job," one told her, "it don't matter ta me if he's a gal."
This memoir is the sometimes hilarious story of how they learned to work together--and what they all learned about stereotypes.
Peggie Carlson is a free-lance writer living in Minneapolis and is the author of The Canning Season.
Reviews and news
"In 1972, Carlson became the first female licensed pipefitter in the state of Minnesota and one of the first women at the Minnesota Gas Company to hold a nonsecretarial position. Here she discusses the harassment she faced, including an attempted sexual assault by one of her co-workers, but she also talks about the men who took her under their wing and taught her how to stand up for herself in a community of men. Carlson briefly discusses her parents' frustration at seeing their daughter give up college for a job they considered demeaning. She also notes the changes that occurred as minorities and younger men with working wives joined the staff, replacing some of the old-line white male employees. Carlson's book is similar to Solange de Santis's Life on the Line (LJ 6/1/99), but she has written more of a memoir than a piece of reportage. This should find a home in collections of women's history, biography, and manufacturing history."
- 211 pages
- 5.25 x 8 inches
- ISBN: 9780873513760