A member of the famed “Willmar 8” has died. Glennis Terwisscha was one of the group of employees at Citizens National Bank in Willmar who went on strike starting in December 1977 demanding equal pay and equal treatment for female employees. She died Monday in St. Paul at the age of 62. Irene Wallin, one of the six remaining strikers, says Glennis was the youngest of the eight.
“Glennis was a real firecracker and she really believed in what we were doing and believed in the cause of equal rights for women, and put a lot on the line for it.”
Though not awarded any damages, the National Labor Relations board eventually ruled in favor of the Willmar 8 and the strike is recognized as a landmark event. The effort was made into a documentary and the movie “A Matter of Sex” in 1984 starring Jean Stapleton.
Wallin says even though Terwisscha was a teenager when the strike began, she made sacrifices and was looking to the future and the need to improve conditions for women in the workforce.
“She recognized it and wanted to fight for it. She gave up a lot in her life for the womens movement. I wish we were further along with it now even, but I think we have gained some ground since then.”