MN90: Women Strike for Equal Pay

In the late 1970s, eight female employees from the Citizens’ National Bank in Willmar stirred up controversy in their town and across the country when they filed a complaint against the bank for unequal pay and gender discrimination. The Willmar 8, as they were called, formed their own union and went on strike for two years. MN90 producer Marisa Helms tells us the Willmar 8 came to symbolize the uphill climb many American women face when seeking equity in the workplace.

MN90: A Socialist Opera House Brings Pride to the Finnish Immigrant Community

Finnish immigrants came to Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range to take jobs in the mines. Because working conditions were brutal, many went on strike 1916. The action cost them their jobs and the strikers were blacklisted. Producer Allison Herrera tells us about a special meeting place that elevated the community.

MN90: The Citizens League

What makes Minnesota unique? The lakes, the weather...and the Minnesota Citizen's League. For over 60 years, the Minnesota Citizens League has helped tackle some of the toughest problems in the state. MN90 producer Allison Herrera tells us more about this influential organization.

Color image of "Remember 'The WILLMAR 8' Chimera Theatre Nov. 12" button, 1980.

Willmar 8 button

"Remember 'The WILLMAR 8' Chimera Theatre Nov. 12" button, 1980.

Black and white photograph of the Willmar 8 on strike, c.1977

Willmar 8, striking bank employees in Willmar

Photograph of the Willmar 8's picket line c.1977.

The Willmar 8 Bank Strike

For nearly two years, eight female employees of Willmar's Citizens National Bank, dubbed the Willmar 8, picketed in front of their downtown workplace seeking pay equity. They never got pay increases, they never got strike-related compensation, and after the strike, only one woman returned to work at the bank for more than a few months. But for the women's movement, the 1977-1979 strike was a resounding success. It was a chink in the armor of the institutional sexism women faced in the workplace.

Poster advertising the Farmers' Holiday Association including a photograph of marchers

Farmer's Holiday

Farmer's Holiday Association poster featuring a photograph of Grant County farmers marching to the State Capitol

photograph of a group of men gathered around a desk in the State Office Building

Farmers Holiday Association conference, State Office Building, St. Paul.

Farmers Holiday Association conference, State Office Building, St. Paul. January 1938.

photograph of Farmer's Holiday Association representatives with Harry L. Hopkins

Administration head Harry L. Hopkins to discuss drought relief.

Farmers Holiday Association representatives meet with Works Progress Administration head Harry L. Hopkins to discuss drought relief, 1936.

photograph of crowd on St. Paul capitol building steps

Farmers storm Capitol to demand relief

Farmers storm Capitol to demand relief, March 22, 1933. Photograph by the St. Paul Daily News.

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