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Minneapolis on strike

Minneapolis on strike

Descendents of the 1934 strikers assembled in front of commemorative plaque

Minneapolis on strike
July 20
14:01 2015

Minneapolis, MN – About 200 people gathered in the Warehouse District here, July 18, to install a plaque commemorating the 1934 Teamsters strike. The epic strike was one of the pivotal events of the 1930s that ushered in a huge upsurge in the labor movement.

Speaking on behalf of the Remember 1934 Committee, Bob Kolstad, of Teamster Local 320 stated, “This is an important day. We believe that the plaque we are unveiling here today is the first public monument to the labor movement in the city of Minneapolis. It was here on the 20th of July, 1934 that the Minneapolis Police Department ambushed members of Teamsters Local 574 and their supporters, shooting 67 of them mostly in the back. Two of them died. They were murdered.”

Kolstad stated the strikers overcame opposition from “the bosses – represented by the Citizens Alliance, and Minneapolis politicians, including the police department and Dan Tobin, president of the international Teamsters Union.”

Cherrene Horazuk, granddaughter of 1934 striker Harry Horazuk and president of AFSCME Local 3800 stated, “We know that being in a union gives us a voice, more power and better wages. We know that when the working class stands up and fights back, we will win.” Horazuk also stated the labor movement should not rely on the good will of politicians or favorable court rulings to succeed.

Other speakers at the event included Tom Keegel, general secretary and treasurer emeritus of the IBT; John Hanson, the son of 1934 striker John Hanson; Linda Leighton, granddaughter strike leader Vincent Dunne, and Keith Christensen, the designer of the commemorative plaque.

The high point of the event occurred when dozens of descendents of the 1934 assembled in front of the speaker’s platform.

In his concluding remarks Kolstad told the crowd, “We need to find the courage and strength to fight for ourselves. One of the lessons of the 1934 strikes is that the people in the working classes know what they need and they know how to get it.” He then urged support for workers in local labor battles, such as the fight of Teamsters and AFSCME at the University of Minnesota.

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