The Role of Women in the 1934 Strikes
It is easy to teach about the 1934 Minneapolis strikes without mentioning the role of women. Indeed, most historical treatments of the strike only discuss the women’s auxiliary. Certainly, the women’s auxiliary was critical to the strike’s success. What receives less attention is the role of some women as strikers themselves (since the strike involved workers on the ‘inside’ of the warehouses as well as the drivers—who were all men-- there were a handful of women strikers) and the position of women more generally in the unions and progressive organizations of the time.
For more information, see Elizabeth Faue’s book Community of Suffering and Struggle: Women, Men, and the Labor Movement in Minneapolis, 1915-1945 (University of North Carolina Press, 1991), as well as Faue’s article Paths of Unionization: Community, Bureaucracy, Gender and the Minneapolis Labor Movement of the 1930sin We Are All Leaders: The Alternative Unionism of the Early 1930s by Stauton Lynd, University of Illinois Press, 1996.
See also, Carlson Sisterhood in the Revolution: The Holmes Sisters & The Socialist Workers Party by Elizabeth Raasch-Gilman. As Gilman explains, most women were not accepted in union leadership roles during the period of the truckers' strikes.