MN90: Union Victory in Minneapolis

Minneapolis was a notorious anti-union town in the early 1900s. But a series of truckers’ strikes in 1934 turned the city into one of the most powerful union cities in the United States. MN90 producer Marisa Helms reports that the strikes were part of a wave of union actions across the country and spurred passage of the 1935 Wagner Act.

Women in Minneapolis History: Nellie Stone Johnson

Nellie Stone Johnson was a labor organizer, activist, and the first Black elected official in Minneapolis. Hear what she has to say about her work in this video.

Women in Minneapolis History: Eva McDonald Valesh

Eva McDonald Valesh was a journalist and labor rights activist in late 1880s Minneapolis. Hear what she has to say about her work in this video.

Minneapolis Flour Mill Strike, 1903

In September 1903, workers in the Minneapolis flour milling industry coordinated a strike that halted production in fourteen different mills. The striking workers fought for higher wages and an eight-hour day. Though their effort failed, it marked a turning point in the city’s labor history by spurring mill owners and other business leaders to limit unions through the Citizens Alliance, an anti-worker organization.

First women flour packers at Washburn-Crosby COMPANY

First women flour packers at Washburn-Crosby Company

The first women flour packers at Washburn-Crosby Company in Minneapolis. From “Pictures Revive First Girls' Crew," Eventually News 1, no. 11 (January 7, 1920), 2.

Labor Day parade, Minneapolis

Labor Day parade, Minneapolis

Flour mill employees march in a Labor Day parade in Minneapolis, September 5, 1904.

Packing floor of Pillsbury-Washburn Company

Packing floor of Pillsbury-Washburn Company

The flour-packing floor of Pillsbury-Washburn Company in Minneapolis, ca. 1890.

John M. Finley

John M. Finley

John M. Finley, president of the International Union of Flour and Cereal Employees (here called the International Association of Union Flour Workers). Published in the Minneapolis Tribune on October 11, 1903, with the article “Finley’s Resignation is Accepted by the Board” (page 7). Accessed through an institutional subscription to ProQuest historical newspapers at the Minnesota History Center.

Flour-milling strike newspaper headline

Flour-milling strike newspaper headline

Headline of an article on the flour milling strike of 1903 published on the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune on September 24, 1903. Accessed through an institutional subscription to ProQuest historical newspapers at the Minnesota History Center.

MN90: Hormel Meat Packers' Strike of 1985

In the summer of 1985, hundreds of workers walked off their jobs at a Hormel food packing plant in Austin, Minnesota, when the company cut workers' hourly wage and benefits. As producer Sam Radwany reports in this MN90 segment, the strike tested the union’s limits, and put the community on a national stage.

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