April 9, 1970 - Public school teachers went on strike in Minneapolis, violating court orders not to walk out. The members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers sought pay raises and the right to collectively bargain. Local Union President Norm Moen said, “As an English teacher, I remember the example of Thoreau. We are taking a courageous action against an oppressive and repressive law.”
With support from AFL-CIO unions and despite the opposition of groups such as the American Legion (which evicted the union from its building), the teachers reached a reasonable settlement, including amnesty for the strikers. A year later, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) strengthening collective bargaining rights for public employees.
For more information
Read accounts of the strike in the Minneapolis Labor Review archives, on line at www.minneapolisunions.org
The Minnesota Historical Society has a page devoted to resources and links on the strike: