Established in 1953 and located in Minneapolis, MN

Two GasWorker Old-Timers, Their Stories

Below are two short biographies of gasworkers from the early years of our company. Although Andrew Saltness was never a union member, this was only because there was never a union in existence at our company during his years of his employment. Severin Swanson did become a member of the forerunner of Local 340 – in 1937 when our union was first recognized by the company.


Mr. Saltness was one of the first Minneapolis Gas Light Company employees. He came to Minneapolis from Norway in 1875 and began working for the company in 1877 (the company was founded in 1870). Andrew drove a one-horse wagon along the Minneapolis streets pumping drips from mains. Drips were the accumulation of water and light oils condensed from the manufactured gas which would cause pipeline stoppages or a drop in pressure (the early gas mains were made of wood).

After a few years Saltness’ horse went blind, but the horse knew the route so well that he continued to do the route without his vision. Andrew Saltness became a fitter in 1882 and later a street foreman, the job from which he retired.


In 1886 Mr. Swanson began his employment with the Minneapolis Gas Light Company as a laborer in the street department. It was all manual labor with a pick and shovel in those days. Later he was promoted to fitter and in 1898 he was promoted to foreman in the street department. During his 50th year with the company, in 1937, he joined our union, as this was the year the company officially recognized our union. Five years later in 1941 he retired after nearly 55 years of continuous service with the company.