The career of Rhoda Hils, a teletypist who crossed picket lines, appealed for union membership, and wrote for Editor and Publisher, demonstrates the ways in which conflicts based on gender, technology, and union principles played out in the International Typographical Union (ITU) in the mid-twentieth century. In this article, Bridget Burke explores the impact of new printing technologies and changes in the workforce and emphasizes the movement of female office workers into the trade through the introduction of teletypesetting machinery. She examines the reactions of union officers, trade publications, and workers on the floor who saw these changes as either threats to their autonomy or, conversely, as opportunities to challenge union control. As the percentage of women in the trade increased, strategies of inclusion and exclusion practiced by the ITU, the labor union that represented journeymen printers, determined the fate of both male union printers and the female typists who challenged their livelihoods. These strategies are well documented in the ITU “rat file” from this period, which tracks individual nonunion workers engaged in strike-breaking activities. The narratives of the membership appeal process document how nonunion workers engaged with the ITU. Finally, the trade publications of the printing industry chronicle the marketing and implementation of teletype installations and presented arguments about speed and efficiency that conflicted with the ITU's definitions of competency.

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