Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, July 17, 2009

1934 Trucker's Strike Resolution

This morning, the Council unanimously passed a resolution my office wrote, along with Council Member Glidden's office, commemorating the Minneapolis trucker's strikes of 1934 - which helped usher in the modern labor movement and the rise of the American middle class - and recognizing the events planned for this 75th Anniversary.

Before the vote, several Council Members talked about their personal connections to the strikers. It's amazing how much the events of 1934 still matter to people on a personal, family level.

I was honored to be a lead author on this and to have the privilege of reading it at the Council meeting this morning.

Here's the text of the resolution:

Whereas, seventy-five years ago this summer, in grim economic times, a strike by Teamsters Local 574 shut down all truck traffic in Minneapolis; and,

Whereas, the business community’s Citizens Alliance, backed by Minneapolis police and its own forces, used violence to try to break the strike; and,

Whereas, on Friday, July 20th, Minneapolis police opened fire on unarmed pickets, wounding sixty-seven and killing two, John Belor and Henry Ness; and,

Whereas, on August 21, 1934, the head of the Citizens Alliance acceded to the union’s major demands, signaling the defeat of employer resistance to unionization in Minneapolis; and,

Whereas, the 1934 strikes helped establish the industrial form of union organization through the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and set the stage for the organization of over-the-road drivers throughout an 11-state area, transforming the Teamsters into a million-plus member union; and,

Whereas, the 1934 Minneapolis strike, together with workers’ struggles in other cities that year, helped prod Congress to pass the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, increasing union organizing nationwide and helping millions of workers attain a better life; and,

Whereas, the strikes of 1934 played an important role in sparking the “Second New Deal,” which included lasting reforms such as Social Security; and,

Whereas, the City of Minneapolis has transcended its history of suppressing workers rights to become a strong and steadfast supporter of labor unions; and,

Whereas, the Hennepin County Library and Labor Review newspaper are sponsoring two special events to commemorate this anniversary, a panel discussion at the Minneapolis Central Library and a Walking Tour starting at the library and including sites in the former Market District, now known as the Warehouse District,

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved by the City Council of the City of Minneapolis

That the City of Minneapolis honors the workers who fought for fair wages and the right to unionize in 1934, especially those who died on the 20th of July.

Be it Further Resolved that the City of Minneapolis recognizes the "One Day in July” events, including the July 23rd film and panel discussion, the July 25th “street festival for the working class,” the July 26th picnic and the August 6th walking tour.


At 11:21 AM, Blogger Kropotkin said...

Thank you, Cam, for introducing this resolution. I've been one of the people working on the "One Day in July" street festival and it's nice to be recognized by the city in this way.

More important, of course, is the parts of the resolution honoring the strikers and recognizing the gains we all made through their hard fought struggle.

We welcome anyone who will join us at the festval Saturday the 25th between 2 and 10 PM.

Complete information at


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