The first marker to commemorate the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strikes, one of the great watershed moments in the history of the American labor movement, is being installed in downtown Minneapolis.
The marker will be unveiled on Saturday, July 18, in a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. at 701 N. Third St., in the Warehouse District.
“There are virtually no memorials in the Twin Cities related to historical moments in the local labor movement,” said Dave Riehle who chairs the Remember 1934 Committee, a group of labor activists, historians and sympathizers who organized and raised funds for the marker.
“The ’34 Teamsters strikes were a critical moment in the American labor movement and we believe the time is long overdue for a memorial.”
The strikes, in which four people were killed, successfully challenged the powerful anti-union business group known as the Citizens Alliance and opened up the city to more union organizing. The massive collective action that took place in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Toledo, Ohio; and other U.S. cities prompted Congress to pass the National Labor Relations Act, the major law guaranteeing workers the right to form unions and bargain contracts.
Keith Christensen, an award-winning professor of art and graphic design at St. Cloud State University, is the designer of the marker, to be erected at street level on the iconic 1913 Sherwin-Williams Paint Co. building. It was in front of this building on Bloody Friday that striker Henry Ness was shot and killed by Minneapolis police.
The plaque will be 30-by-22 inches, composed of porcelain enamel in a steel frame and will have text and visuals about the strike and its historical importance.
“Anything which memorializes our fallen brothers and sisters in the struggle for union representation and collective bargaining is a good thing and this memorial is a good thing,” said Paul Slattery, organizer and political director for Teamsters Local 120.
Speakers at the ceremony will include Tom Keegel, general secretary-treasurer emeritus of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, whose grandfather was a 1934 striker; and Linda Leighton, a shop steward in Service Employees Local 284 and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Leighton is a granddaughter of strike leader Vincent Dunne, an early member of the IWW.
Further information on the project is available by visiting this website. Donations to support the project may be sent to: Remember 1934, P.O. Box 8115, Lake Street Station, Minneapolis, MN 55408.