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Union Against Unions

Union Against Unions

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The Minneapolis Citizens Alliance and Its Fight Against Organized Labor, 1903–1947

Author William Millikan, Introduction by Peter Rachleff

Minnesota Historical Society Press (November 19, 2003)

The first book-length study of the Citizens Alliance, a union of Minneapolis business owners, detailing their use of financial and political power, as well as propaganda and brute force, in their campaign against organized labor.


A groundbreaking labor study, this book offers a detailed portrait of the Citizens Alliance (CA), a union of Minneapolis business owners, which employed any means necessary to squelch the power of organized labor. The association blacklisted union workers, ran a spy network to ferret out union activity, and, when necessary, raised a private army to crush its opposition with brute force. The influence of the CA also reached across the state to battle socialists, labor unions, the Nonpartisan League, and the Industrial Workers of the World. The book examines the philosophies and tactics of the Citizens Alliance from its inception in 1903 to the passage of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, legislation that effectively inhibited the power of unions.

Based on over ten years of meticulous archival research, this book delves into such subjects as the founding of the William Hood Dunwoody Industrial Institute; the 1917 Streetcar Strike and the 1934 Teamsters' Strike; and the CA's collaboration with the Commission of Public Safety, Northwest Bancorporation, the courts, and the military. Both a business history and a labor history, A Union Against Unions offers a comprehensive picture of the CA's campaign against organized labor and a fascinating view of Minnesota history during the first half of the twentieth century.

Author information

WILLIAM MILLIKAN is an independent scholar and freelance writer. Three of his articles have been published in Minnesota History, each of them earning the Solon J. Buck Award for best article of the year.

PETER RACHLEFF is professor and chair of the history department at Macalester College in St. Paul.

  • 540 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873514996

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