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Cedar Valley Memories: The Rath Strike of 1948

Employees of the Rath Packing Company went on strike in 1948, and the Waterloo workers joined 80,000 others from sixty-five different plants. They demanded higher wages to keep up with inflation after World War II.

Picketers on Sycamore Street during a Rath Packing Company strike in 1948. -- Leo R. Larson

Picketers on Sycamore Street during a Rath Packing Company strike in 1948.

Leo R. Larson

 

The protests went sour when one man was shot dead and a woman was badly injured. This forced the national guard to come in and put an end to all of the violence.

The national guard after being called in to monitor the Rath Packing Company strike in 1948. -- Leo R. Larson

The national guard after being called in to monitor the Rath Packing Company strike in 1948.

Leo R. Larson

 

The protestors were ultimately unsuccessful. They only received a $.09 increase, which was what Rath had initially promised them. Meanwhile, workers who crossed picket lines received special treatment, creating tension between them and the returning strikers.

The national guard in their tank for the Rath Packing Company strike in 1948. -- Leo R. Larson

The national guard in their tank for the Rath Packing Company strike in 1948.

Leo R. Larson

 

See more historic pictures in the Courier’s Cedar Valley Memories II, coming this December.

Volume II: Cedar Valley Memories: The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s Cover
The Courier presents Volume II: Cedar Valley Memories: The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s

$44.95

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