Commemorating the 1934 Teamster strike

Teamster strikes back at Citizen Alliance strikebreaker


Twin Cities area labor activists and sympathizers will keep alive the spirit of the landmark 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strike over the next two months with a 90th-anniversary commemoration that includes film screenings, art exhibits, a panel discussion and a wreath-laying ceremony, culminating in a July 27 remembrance picnic.
The fierce 1934 strike was among several notable labor actions nationally that year and was credited with making Minneapolis a union town after years of resistance by the employers’ Citizens Alliance.
The schedule of events opens with “Voters in Revolt,” an art exhibition by Brooks Turner at HAIR+NAILS Gallery, 2222-1/2 E. 35th St., Minneapolis, which presents three bodies of work commemorating the strike. Four large machine-woven tapestries depict critical moments from the strike through collages of photos placed within imagined floral and forest landscapes.
“Strike Scenes,” a series of pen-and-ink drawings on handmade paper, offers a more intimate view of the strike. The final work, “Path Through the Wilderness,” is a video and audio installation exploring the power and potency of labor organizing in Minnesota through the voice of Meridel Le Sueur, the noted Minnesota writer of the proletarian literature movement. The exhibit continues Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. through June 30.
Next up is the multi-artist exhibit “1934 & Now, Connections of the Minneapolis Truckers’ Strike of 1934,” which runs from June 3 to July 28 at the Cargill gallery of the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall. Participating artists include Mike Alewitz, Rachel Breen, Keith Christensen, Olivia Levins Holden, Juxtaposition Arts youth, Carolyn Olson, Mike Rivard and Brooks Turner. The exhibit will include banners, photographs, installations, paintings and a video presentation. The library is located near the sites of significant events during the strike.
“The exhibit explores the relationship of history to the present as well as workers’ role in social change,” said exhibit organizer Keith Christensen. “The artwork will connect a wide range of perspectives that relate to the strike.”
An opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. The following Saturday, June 15, there will be an exhibit tour featuring the artists from 2 to 3 p.m., followed by a 3 to 5 p.m. panel discussion with the artists and historian Peter Rachleff.


Labor film screenings

On Sunday, June 23, a selection of labor-oriented documentaries will be screened in the library’s Pohlad Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. The main feature will be “Labor’s Turning Point,” a 43-minute documentary from 1981 on the 1934 strike that won recognition of the Teamsters as the bargaining representative of truck drivers and associated workers. Also showing will be “Breaking Walls,” a 44-minute 2004 award-winning film created by Jonathan Ben Efrat about a mural project in the Occupied Territories, organized by labor activist-muralist Mike Alewitz and Arab construction workers; “Dissent Minnesota,” an eight-minute 2024 film by Mike Rivard, a local filmmaker who has documented many protests; and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Despair,” a 30-minute 2021 film by Gus Ganley on the Teamster pension fund fight that led to successful legislation.

Comments are closed.