James P. Cannon

Union Recognition Gained by
Militant Minneapolis Battles

Victory in Minneapolis

(June 1934)

Published: The Militant, Vol. VII No. 22, 2 June 1934, p. 1.
Original bound volumes of The Militant and microfilm provided by the Holt Labor Library, San Francisco, California.
Transcription/HTML Markup:Andrew Pollack.
Proofreading: Einde O’Callaghan (May 2016).

Minneapolis – The drivers’ strike conducted by General Drivers Union No. 574 was settled on the basis of recognition of the union, unconditional reinstatement of all strikers, and agreement to arbitrate the demands for wages and hours. Employers had previously granted substantial wage increases in the attempt to head off the strike and avoid recognizing and dealing with the union. The union is now presenting demands for further increases. Out of the six thousand men involved in the strike, only a few isolated cases of attempted discrimination had been reported to the union since the settlement of the strike three days ago. The majority of these men had already been reinstated on demand of the union.

Last night’s general membership meeting was a rousing affair. Thousands of newly organized workers, the majority of whom never belonged to a union before, crowded the big strike headquarters to hear reports on the execution of the settlement and further plans to strengthen and consolidate the union. The speeches of union leaders Brown, Skoglund, and Dunne reflected the spirit of the crowd, and every appeal for continued militancy and vigilance was cheered to the echo.

The spirit of victory and achievement was in the air, although no attempt had been made by the leadership to exaggerate the gains of the first battle. Recognition of the union, which, in the language of the Minneapolis striker, means “protection” of his job, is regarded as a great achievement for a new union. The workers are determined to hold on to this achievement.

And it is quite clear that the bosses, after the experience of the ten-day battle, are not anxious for another fight soon. This has been shown particularly by the readiness of the individual bosses to meet with the union officials and adjust any claims of discrimination in rehiring the strikers. It is further shown in the absence up to date of any threat of prosecution of the union leaders for the casualties that resulted from the strike battles. A stem warning that any such attempt will bring the workers into action again was sounded at last night’s meeting and brought a roar of approval from the workers.

The militancy of the drivers’ strike is known to the world. The efficiency of its organization and the quality of its leadership – which released this mighty wave of rank-and-file militancy with such telling effect – is also acknowledged on all sides in Minneapolis.

The prestige of General Drivers Union No. 574 and the group of militants at its head, is on the heights. There is little doubt that they will be a force for still greater accomplishments in wider circles of the labor movement. The strike brought a shower of telegrams from workers’ organizations and numerous invitations to the men at the head of “574” to come to other localities to lead organizing campaigns.

Last updated on 13 May 2016