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HISTORY TOPICS

1970 Minneapolis Teachers' Strike

When Local 59 of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) called a teachers' strike in April 1970, public controversy flared over issues regarding the roles and rights of teachers. Prominent issues included questions concerning conflicting views of the tradition of teachers as "public servants," teachers' contracts, unionization, collective bargaining, and students' welfare. Within the teachers' own ranks, the strike was divisive, and created tension between strikers and non-strikers. For some segments of the public, the shock of seeing teachers on picket lines symbolized the beginning of the end of "the old order," and led members of the opposition to call for court action and restrictive legislation. In 1972, following the strike, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the state Public Employees Labor Relations Act (PELRA), a law giving teachers and other public employees the right to bargain collectively.

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • The 1970 Minneapolis Teacher Strike: A Milestone in Minnesota Labor History, by Corinne Adams Robinson.
    [Minneapolis, Minn.: Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, 1995].
    MHS call number: LB2844.47.M62 M57 1995.
  • Education & Democracy: A History of the Mpls. Federation of Teachers, by Steve Trimble.
    Minneapolis: Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, 1979.
    MHS call number: LB2844.53.U52 M557 1979.

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • Minneapolis Public Schools. Board of Education Records:
    • Meeting Files.
      This collection contains school board meeting files for regular, special, and annual meetings of the school board and includes minutes and various agenda materials. Files are arranged chronologically by meeting date.
      MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks for local governments — filed under Hennepin County, Minneapolis, School Records, Minneapolis Public Schools, Board of Education, Meeting Files — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 85 boxes of material, but not all relate to this topic).
    • Office Archives (Subject Files).
      This collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes of committee meetings, published and near-print materials, legal documents, programs, and miscellany relating to all aspects of the administration of the Minneapolis public schools, including the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and the 1970 Strike.
      MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks for local governments — filed under Hennepin County, Minneapolis, School Records, Minneapolis Public Schools, Board of Education, Office Archives — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 30 boxes of material, but not all relate to this topic).
    • 1970 Teachers' Strike Records.
      This collection consists of strike plans and reports, negotiation meeting minutes, court pleadings for the resultant lawsuit, correspondence and memos, and related records regarding the teachers' strike of April 1970, and its aftermath. Includes lists of strikers and non-strikers, and of employees paid and not paid during the strike.
      MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks for local governments — filed under Hennepin County, Minneapolis, School Records, Minneapolis Public Schools, Board of Education, 1970 Teachers' Strike Records — for a list of folder titles and the locator number (there is only 1 box of material).
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Labor Review
    • Minneapolis Star
    • Minneapolis Tribune
    • Minnesota Union Advocate (St. Paul)
    • St. Paul Dispatch
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.