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July 31, 2015
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The 1934 Plaque Legacy
When the thousands of strikers took their places on the strike line that fateful day of July 20, 1934, they had no idea they were changing the nation. They had no idea that they would be successful in their efforts of beating back the bullies of the Citizens Alliance in Minneapolis. And they had absolutely no idea, that 81 years later- they would be permanently memorialized at the site where they waged a war. Beginning May 15, 1934, the warehouse district of Minneapolis became bustling with activity, but not the kind it was used to. Lead by the iconic Dunn brothers and Teamsters Local 574, workers walked off the job site and began a unified effort to halt deliveries until management sat down to collectively bargain with them. However, Minneapolis was ruled with an iron fist by the Citizens Alliance, a group of business owners joined together to keep Minneapolis union-free. The leaders of this alliance flushed money into the system to keep any helpful legislation from passing, threatened to pull loans from any worker-friendly businesses, and even used labor spies and physical force to beat back labor unions from entering their domain. Surviving on only fourteen dollars a week and the constant threat of being fired for no reason, these workers had enough. From May 15 to August 13, a war ensued between as many as ten to twenty thousand workers and unemployed members, and business owners. The war was dirty, bloody, and violent. The Citizens Alliance had many business owners deputized in attempts to beat back the strikers and get the trucks through their grasps to make deliveries. They hired strikebreakers to dress like the strikers and wreak havoc. Strikers were clubbed, beaten, and arrested. This never broke them; however. They created a newspaper called The Organizer to keep citizens and strikers alike informed on the current events of the strike. Wives and mothers set up food shelves and hospitals to care for the strikers. Then came July 20, a day that will forever be known as Bloody Friday. A group of strikers pulled their vehicle towards a delivery truck, the beginnings of the routine for a striker attempting to prevent the truck from making their delivery, but before they could get out of their truck, the police began to open fire on them with Thompson Submachine guns. This event, known as Bloody Friday, was the day that over sixty strikers were injured by the shooting- many of them were shot in the backs during their attempts to run from their attackers. Two men- Henry Ness and John Belor, would die of their wounds. Ness is last heard uttering the words: ?Don?t fail me now, boys.? Bloody Friday sent a shock of anger and passion through the strikers and, instead of breaking them, it made them more determined. Their success kicked the Citizens Alliance out of the city and turned Minnesota from a state with one of the lowest wages in the nation, to a state with one of the highest. It caused a flair of strikes across the nation and helped to bring about the National Labor Relations Act through Congress. This act legitimized unions and gave workers a right to form and join them while also requiring businesses to partake in collective bargaining. Lastly, it established the National Labor Relations Board which still stands to ensure these rights are protected. Perhaps the most incredible part of this story was the heroic actions of these men and women who fought against the odds- and against the laws at the time- to establish dignity and rights in the workplace. And, finally, on July 18, 2015, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate and give permanence to these brave men and women. Located at the Sherwin Williams building at 701 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN, the plaque stands as a testament to a time when workers lived in fear of their employers- a time when they risked their lives by fighting for more for themselves and their families- and a time when workers had no rights and no dignity. The unveiling of this plaque was a joyous occasion attended by not only the Remember 1934 Committee and Teamsters Local 120 (the descendant local of Local 574), but by many children and grandchildren of strikers as well. These men and women are truly some of Minnesota?s greatest heroes and a proud part of Teamster history. We are who we are today because of their bravery and courage to stand up and fight for more- even in the face of death.
1934 Strike Plaque Unveiling

14 July 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Teamsters Local 120 to Help Honor Rich Union History With Unveiling of the 1934 Strike Remembrance Plaque

Remember 1934 Committee and Teamsters Local 120 will join together on July 18 to remember the strike heard around the world.

Contact: Paul Slattery, (651)-343-1714 pslattery@teamsterslocal120.org

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- Teamsters Local 120 invites all 120 and Joint Council 32 members and friends of labor to join them at the corner of N 7th Ave and N 3rd St in Minneapolis, MN from 11am-1pm to honor and celebrate the strike that turned an anti-labor state into a labor-centric state. The plaque will be unveiled at the site of Bloody Friday which was where sixty-five strikers were shot and injured and where Henry Ness and John Belor received the shots that would end their lives. Teamsters Local 120 will be serving food at the event. General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as well as the previous Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 120, C. Thomas Keegel, will speak. Other speakers include Cherrene Horazuk, President of AFSCME Local 3800 and a descendant of a striker, and Linda Leighton, a shop steward in Service Employees Local 284, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, and a descendant of strike leader VR Dunn. The Teamsters Trucker Strike of 1934 is one of the most iconic and life-changing moments of not only Minnesota history, but national history as well. Beginning May 15, 1934, the strike brought in so many people that it successfully shut down virtually all transportation in the city of Minneapolis. The city was controlled by the Citizens Alliance- a group of small and large businesses that pressed the employers? agenda firmly into the Minneapolis lifestyle- even going as far as using physical force and threatening to pull loans from worker-friendly businesses. They were determined to step on the backs of the most vulnerable in order to push themselves up. Forced to live on fourteen dollars a week and half rations, the workers flocked to the picket lines by the thousands in order to unite together and fend off the massive bully that was the Citizens Alliance. CEOs were deputized, strike breakers were hired to beat the strikers down, workers were jailed by the dozens, people were clubbed, and shots were fired. From May 15 to August 13, a brutal battle ensued between the strikers and the employers. The strike was meticulously planned and a newspaper was produced called The Organizer. Wives and mothers put together a food collection to cook meals for the strikers and had a makeshift hospital to care for the injured. The 1934 Strike was so successful that the wages were set at more than double what they were prior to the strike. Workers across the country began to take notice and a flair of strikes rushed through the nation. The 1934 strike and its aftermath directly attributes to the creation of the National Labor Relations Act, which legitimized unions and gave workers a right to form and join them while also requiring businesses to partake in collective bargaining. Lastly, it established the National Labor Relations Board which still stands to ensure these rights are protected. ?Not only did this strike alter the course of Minnesota history by changing the state into a strong state for workers rights, but it also dramatically shifted the way unions were treated across the entire United States of America.? says Paul Slattery, Political Director and Lead Organizer for Teamsters Local 120, ?We are excited to be able to honor these brave men and women with a permanent plaque in the city to show just how important these people were and are to the working class nation-wide."

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A Tribute to Our History
Supervalu Vote
Press Release: Amazon.com

      

Teamsters Denounce Omnibus Bill
November General Membership Meeting
New Office Hours All Locations

Please be advised that effective Monday, November 3, 2014 the new office hours for the Blaine, Dubuque and Sioux Falls locations will be Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.!  The new hours are to be posted at each location effective immediately.

Organizing Victory at PGW Auto Glass

Five members of Pittsburg Glass Works in Fargo, ND voted to join Teamsters Local 120 on Friday October 24. The company challenged one member’s vote but that had no effect on the election. All of the remaining members voted yes to be represented by Teamsters Local 120. These members warehouse and distribute auto glass throughout the State of North Dakota. A special thanks to Business Agent Brian Nowak for keeping the members united during a brutal anti-union campaign put on by the company.

Please join us in welcoming these brand new members to our local union.



TEAMSTERS LOCAL 120 - The rights which labor has won, labor must fight to protect!

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