Festivities for four days from July 17 – 20 commemorated the day in 1934 when Minneapolis became a union town, considered the most significant single labor event in Minnesota history, and paved the way for greater unions rights nationwide.
Free and open to the public, a variety of events including films, music, speeches, a march, a street festival and lectures organized by supporters of the strike will celebrate the historical day for American union workers.
Eighty years ago on July 20, 1934, in the mist of the great economic Depression, a strike by union member truckers of Teamsters Local 574 became the scene for combat known as “Bloody Friday” when the business community sent a private army to try and stop the protest, shooting 67 unarmed strikers and killing two.
The Minneapolis Labor Review said that the funeral procession drew upwards of 100,000 people, so farmer-labor Party Governor Floyd B. Olson implemented the Minnesota National Guard to impose martial law.
In August, in the employers’ organization gave in, officially recognizing the union and agreeing to increase wages and working conditions. This prompted mass organization of workers throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and the Teamsters formal status solidified the group of truck drivers as a major international organization.
The strike proved to have significant lasting impact on workers rights as well, prompting Congress to pass the National Labor Relations act the following year. Unions right to organize was now formally and federally recognized, spurring a wave of unions unifying nationwide.
To honor the 80th anniversary, the Remember 1934 Committee made up of labor activists, decedents of the strikers and historians have, organized the following events:
Thursday July 17th – Historian and prize-winning writer Bryan Palmer discusses “Revolutionary Teamsters”, his new book about the strike, at 6:30pm.
Friday July 18th – Clips from several documentary films about significant 1934 strikes. 6 pm.
Saturday July 19th _ March to the “Bloody Friday” site from 3 – 8pm. Food and speakers will be featured. For more information, contact Paul Slattery at 651-343-1714.
Sunday, July 20 – Picnic at Wabun Picnic Area at Minnehaha Park, with music, food and speakers. Noon to 4:00 p.m.
To contact event planners, email [email protected] or phone 612-802-1482.