Segments in this Video

Willmar, Minnesota (03:53)


Eight employees of the Citizen's National Bank, the Wilmar 8, strike on December 17th, 1977 and walk the picket line. The town boasts 26 churches with a population of almost 19,000.

Equal Rights for Women (04:30)

The women are the first strike in 40 years. Sandi Treml makes $425 per month before the strike. Tellers and bookkeepers discuss unequal pay. expected overtime without pay, and lack of promotions.

Discrimination Lawsuit (03:19)

John Mack describes how Leo Perch would make discriminatory speeches in Citizen's National Bank. Eight woman file charges of unfair practices at the National Labor Relations Board. Dave Roe explains why the strike has lasted so long.

Hardships from Striking (04:28)

The Willmar 8 lives mostly on contributions. One woman separates from her husband during the strike; her pastor gives her a book to encourage submissive behavior. Many supporters attend a service at the Unitarian Church in Willmar.

Support for Strikers (03:52)

Many citizens quietly support the women but most refuse to speak out. Mack loses his position as Republican Party President for Kandiyohi County because of the case.

Women Speak Out (04:02)

The Willmar 8 appear on "The Phil Donahue Show." None of the women were political prior to the strike. Mike Perch speaks out against his father.

Strike Continues (02:22)

Lee Grant meets a member of the board of directors from Citizen's National Bank at the Lakeland Cafe. Jane Harguth Groothuis spends the evening with her mother playing the piano and watching TV.

United Automobile Workers (03:45)

NOW and labor organizations occasionally show solidarity but do not offer protection. The UAW sends 30 volunteers to show solidarity with the Willmar Eight; no citizens arrive.

Bank Injustices (07:47)

After negotiating with the Willmar Eight, the bank rehires Doris Boshart and demotes her. The strikers receive letters from across the country about similar behavior injustices. Women who play poker discuss politics.

Strike Fund Empty (04:08)

Women debate equal rights. Glennis Ter Wisscha inquires about a job in a drug store. Teren Novotny offers to financially help her fellow strikers.

Perch Sells the Bank (06:22)

Perch retires as president of the bank. A judge at the NLRB finds Citizens National Bank guilty of unfair labor practices but that it did not cause the strike. The Willmar Eight receive no back pay or reinstatement.

Credits: The Willmar 8 (01:47)

Credits: The Willmar 8

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The Willmar 8

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The story of eight women in America's heartland—Willmar, Minnesota—who were driven by sex discrimination at work to find themselves unexpectedly at the forefront of the struggle for women's rights. Risking jobs, friends, family, and the opposition of church and community, they began the longest bank strike in American history in a dramatic attempt to assert their own equality and self-worth.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL165970

Copyright date: ©1980

Closed Captioned

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