Megan Cornish papers, 1970-2003

Overview of the Collection

Cornish, Megan
Megan Cornish papers
1970-2003 (inclusive)
10.26 cubic feet (9 boxes)
Collection Number
6259 (Accession No. 6259-001)
Papers of one of the first female electricians for Seattle City Light and labor activist
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Closed until processed. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Megan (pronounced MEG-on) Cornish grew up in various locations around the United States. Cornish moved to Washington state after earning her BA from Cornell University in 1969. Cornish worked at the Shelter Half antiwar G.I. Coffee House in Tacoma; and was an active supporter of the United Construction Workers Association (UCWA); and picketed on behalf of striking University of Washington clerical and maintenance workers--part of the Staff Organizing Committee (later the United Workers Union-Independent). Cornish was also an active member of Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization co-founded by Clara Fraser in Seattle.

Fraser was selected to organize an Electrical Trades Trainee (ETT) program at Seattle City Light, she recruited Cornish and dozens of other feminist movement activists to apply. Cornish was hired along with nine other women as ETT employees.

The ETT women’s struggle with City Light management and sometimes with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union, Local 77 to hire women and challenge workplace sexism was hard fought. Cornish, along with her Radical Women colleagues Heidi Durham and Teri Bach, pushed the hardest and were targeted for some of the worst backlash. In the process, Cornish broke through a number of barriers. She became only the second female operator and the first female power dispatcher at Seattle City Light. Eventually promoted to senior power dispatcher, Cornish helped found the Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL) and, in 1991, was named Active Advocate of the Year, along with her longtime colleague Heidi Durham, by Washington Women in the Trades. She retired in 2004 after thirty years at City Light.

Cornish remains a committed member of Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), as well as an antiwar activist and an environmental advocate. She has written numerous articles, pamphlets, and a few books on a range of topics over the last 30 years, which have been published by the Freedom Socialist Party publishing arm, Red Letter Press.

Text based on Megan Cornish oral history interview, Cornish, Megan interview with Nicole Grant and Alex Morrow "Radical Women; Freedom Socialist Party; Electrical Trades Trainee (ETT) Program, Seattle City Light," Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project <>

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records collected by Megan Cornish on her role as a member of the Electrical Trades Trainees program of female electricians at City Light. The papers include organizing files and legal files from Cornish and other ETT’s discrimination case against City Light. Cornish was also a co-founder and member of the ETT's Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL).

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Megan Cornish.

Related Materials

Special Collections holds similar materials in these collections:

Clara Fraser papers (Collection No. 3187)

Tyree Scott papers (Collection No. 5245)

George Hammer papers (Collection No. 6276)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 Electrical Trades Trainees
Correspondence, reports, clippings, candidate lists, memos, fact sheet, policy manual, subpoena, job announcements and descriptions, program schedule, pamphlet, notes, handbooks, contract amendments, records for the ETT case, legal documents including deposition of Carole Coe, press releases, ETT program evaluations, requests for certification, trainee evaluations, newsletters, articles,
1 City Light Walkout
Clippings, leaflet
2 Electrical Trades Trainees: Case and Media
Clippings, memos
2 Clara Fraser Case
Proposals, meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, ETT working committee documents, directories, statement by Janet Schokke, timelines, direct and cross examinations of Daisy Jones, Rhuebottom, and Fraser, questionnaire on Darlene Allison, legal documents, Local 77 resolution, notes, clippings, memos, case history, financial reports, Fraser's resume and a biographical sketch, benefit leaflets, press releases, list of supporters, and articles relating to Clara Fraser's employment and termination from Seattle City Light.
3 Clara Fraser Case
clippings, articles and a documentary album
3 City Light and Employee Trades Training
Memos, correspondence, mailing list, newsletters, clippings and articles, meeting minutes, reports, IBEW Local 77 resolution and other documents, documents and articles relating to Nick Daniggelis, fact sheets, documents relating to Teri Bach's suspension, civil service rules, trainee feedback, training catalog, documents relating to the Uhlman recall committee, proposed Bill of Rights, Eleven Member Committee report, notes, documents relating to Heidi Durham's case, and job description
4 City Light and Employee Trades Training
Correspondence, certificate, claim for damages, memos, legal documents, list of labor organizations, KIRO report, clippings, documents relating to Lori Lakshas case, articles, notes, press release, Bill of Rights, invitations, button, documents relating to Heidi Durham, workshop schedule and notes, sexual harassment questionnaire (blank), documents relating to Buzz Jackson's termination, personnel action form, reports, employee evaluation, newsletter, IBEW Local 77 resolutions, contract proposals, meeting minutes, documents relating to Women in Trades, union proposals, IBEW contract with City Light, exam results,
5 City Light and Employee Trades Training
Correspondence, clippings and articles, notices, blank helper exam, memos, reports, notes, employee evaluations, Local 77 resolution and dues receipt, City of Seattle Affirmative Action plan, Seattle Personnel Ordinance, legal documents, exam answer sheet, meeting minutes, Local 77 contract proposals, and agreements between IBEW and City Light
5 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)
Correspondence, memos, legal documents, resume, notes, reports on the Human Rights Department, reports, city ordinance, newsletters, clippings, meeting agendas, and minutes, news releases, resolutions, draft of Affirmative Action Plan, memos from City of Seattle Employees Against Discrimination, flyers, petition, and Seattle ordinance
6 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)
Notes, clippings, Local 77 booklet, City Light publications and newsletters, IBEW ritual book and by-laws, blank forms, Cornish dues receipts and membership cards, documents from trainings and workshops, memos, legal documents, budgets, flyers and notices, meeting minutes, Affirmative Action Plan, reports, resumes, phone directories, IBEW contract, correspondence, newsletters, notes, and brochures
7 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)- Press
Announcements, clippings, and media sign-in sheet
7 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)- General
Clippings, correspondence, flyers, newsletter, song lyrics, notes, memos, case subject files, reports, legal documents, financial report, agendas, resume, Affirmative Action work plan, employee evaluations, meeting minutes, and performance worksheet
8 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)
Clippings, notes, correspondence, memos, Local 77 by-laws, flyers, and conference announcement and schedule
8 Committee for Equal Rights at City Light (CERCL)- Human Rights Department Case
Correspondence, memos, statistics, legal documents, resolution, Washington State publications, and blank forms
8 Ad Hoc Committee
Reports, memos, correspondence, clippings, notes, agendas, meeting minutes, flyers, fact sheets, legal documents, and petitions
8 Miscellaneous
Notes, clippings, flyers, correspondence, legal documents, employee history cards, reports, memos, applications, job descriptions, and employee evaluations related to CERCL, employee cases, and Seattle Human Rights Commission/Department
9 Miscellaneous
Correspondence, memos, clippings, legal documents including witness statements, notes, KIRO news report, flyers, press packet, meeting minutes, training packets, employee evaluation, resolution, reports, and job description related to CERCL, Seattle Human Rights Department, and Seattle City Light

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Affirmative action programs--Washington (State)--Seattle--History--Sources
  • Apprenticeship programs--Washington (State)--Seattle--History--Sources
  • Electric industry workers--Training of--Washington (State)--Seattle--Sources
  • Labor--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Sex discrimination in employment--Washington (State)--Seattle--History--Sources
  • Women electric industry workers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives

Personal Names

  • Cornish, Megan--Archives

Corporate Names

  • Seattle City Light--Employees--Archives
  • Seattle City Light--History--Sources