2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
March 29, 2017 - Introduced by Senators C. Larson, Ringhand, L. Taylor,
Carpenter, Johnson, Risser and Wirch, cosponsored by Representatives
Sinicki, Brostoff, Ohnstad, Bowen, Anderson, Berceau, Fields, Genrich,
Goyke, Kessler, Mason, Milroy, Pope, Riemer, Sargent, Spreitzer, Subeck,
C. Taylor and Wachs. Referred to Committee on Senate Organization.
SJR28,1,1 1Relating to: commemorating the Bay View labor strike and tragedy.
SJR28,1,62 Whereas, Wisconsin workers and reformers have long made important
3contributions in the history of labor in the United States, having helped enact new
4state laws early in the twentieth century, such as Worker's Compensation and
5Unemployment Insurance, that, in turn, were adopted by other states and the
6federal government; and
SJR28,1,97 Whereas, decades earlier, in the late 1800s, workers were still struggling to
8attain basic rights in the workplace, and still generally labored at physically
9punishing jobs for 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week; and
SJR28,1,1210 Whereas, in the 1880s, workers in Milwaukee, like others in Chicago and across
11the country, began to advocate for the eight-hour workday, an early cornerstone of
12the basic bill of rights of all people in the workplace; and
SJR28,1,1513 Whereas, employers made no efforts toward reform, and eventually workers'
14organizations across the nation called upon all workers to cease their labor if
15employers had not adopted a standard eight-hour workday by May 1, 1886; and
1Whereas, in Milwaukee, civil parades and demonstrations developed over the
2first five days of May 1886, as workers peaceably and without violence joined the
3national work stoppage to protest and abolish inhumane work hours; and
SJR28,2,74 Whereas, on May 2, 1886, there was the huge Eight-Hour Day Parade that
5many German and Polish workers and their families walked in to the picnic grounds,
6and on May 3 thousands of workers from the breweries and the building trades went
7on strikes and marched from factory to factory; and
SJR28,2,118 Whereas, by May 5, 1886, unrest among Milwaukee's laborers over the struggle
9for better work hours had led to more than a dozen strikes in the city, involving
10carpenters, coal heavers, sewer diggers, iron moulders, teamsters, common laborers,
11and other workers asking for humane work hours; and
SJR28,2,1412 Whereas, the last grand factory in Milwaukee still in operation that day was
13the North Chicago Rolling Mill, in Bay View, which manufactured rails for the
14nation's railroads; and
SJR28,2,1715 Whereas, on May 5, 1886, despite the threat of violence from the state militia,
16a crowd of striking workers started to walk, peaceably and unarmed, to the Rolling
17Mill to enjoin workers there to participate in the general strike; and
SJR28,2,2118 Whereas, despite the law-abiding nature of their procession, this group of
19walking laborers was fired upon by the state militia, on direct orders from Governor
20Jeremiah Rusk—seven people were killed and four, including innocent bystanders,
21wounded; and
SJR28,2,2522 Whereas, some 50 of the workers who marched that day and were fired upon
23were indicted on charges of rioting and conspiracy for merely exercising their right
24of freedom to assemble, and three of them eventually served six to nine months in
25prison; and
1Whereas, the infamous events of May 5, 1886, will remain a part of Wisconsin's
2cultural and economic legacy forever and should remind us in the present to honor
3the sacrifices of our forebears, including laying down their lives, so that all those who
4labor might lead safer and more productive work lives; now, therefore, be it
SJR28,3,9 5Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the Wisconsin
6legislature recognizes the historic significance of this pivotal series of events in
7Wisconsin's and the nation's history, and directs that, from this day forward, the fifth
8day of May each year will be observed in our state as the anniversary of the Bay View
9labor strike and tragedy.
SJR28,3,1010 (End)