Tag Archive: National Guard


Minneapolis Truckers' Strike of 1934 (Minnesota Historical Society)

Minneapolis had been a non-union city because business leaders had kept the unions at bay through the Citizens Alliance, a populist sounding group of business leaders and supportive lackeys who served to enhance the power of millionaire plutocrats – the Tea Party of today. The excesses of industry had bought about the Great Depression and by the time the economy had ebbed to the depths of those in 1934, unions were even gaining strength in Minneapolis. During the month of May that year, over 3,000 truckers began a strike that crippled transport of goods in the hub of Minneapolis. They were led by a local Trotskyist group. Only certain farmers were allowed to transport food into town and the strikers had shut down most markets. At one point in July police shot to kill, taking aim at peaceful picketers and the governor declared martial law. The National Guard raided the strike headquarters but the protesters retook control the next day. By August 14th, the military was shipping goods in and out of town but the strike continued until August 21st, when the union won each of its major demands. After the strike, more unions began to organize in Minneapolis and across the country.
Wikipedia: Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934

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"Miner strikes the owner" (Judge, via Wikipedia)

Bituminous coal miners had gone on strike in 1897 and had won a resounding victory. With success, the unions grew rapidly in size and spread to anthracite coal miners by 1899 and 1900. During that time, owners acquiesced to labor demands rather than impose on Republican William McKinley’s chances in the upcoming election. But in 1902, anthracite coal miners still lacked recognition for their unions and they did not have much say in the decisions that shaped their industry. Unwilling to concede even more, the company bosses refused arbitration and 100,000 United Mine Workers of America, comprising up to 80% of the workers in Pennsylvania, went on strike.

J.P. Morgan, owner of the Reading Railroad (of Monopoly fame) and financial autocrat, played a significant role in the negotiation process after intrigues involving the Federal mediation, the National Guard, Police and spies, but after 163 days, the strike ended with another labor victory. In the end, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed that the government sought to ensure a “Square Deal” (first usage ever) to both sides. The strike was a victory for the workers and help lead to Progressive Era reforms.

Wikipedia: Anthracite Coal Strike