The Willmar 8 During Their First Days on the Picket Line, 1977
On the morning of December 16, 1977, eight female employees of Citizens National Bank in Willmar, Minnesota, went on strike to protest what they considered unequal pay and unequal opportunities for advancement at their place of employment. It was the first ever strike against a Minnesota bank. The strike dragged on for nearly two years without resolution. It officially ended in 1979 when the National Labor Relations Board ruled that while the bank had engaged in unfair labor practices, the women had gone on strike for purely economic reasons. That meant the strikers had no right to back pay or rehiring. By most conventional measures, the strike failed, but the actions of the “Willmar 8” raised awareness of gender discrimination in the workplace and inspired a new generation of women’s rights activists.
More at Minnesota in the 70s
Image via Minnesota Historical Society