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2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
May 6, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives Sinicki, Brostoff, Hebl, Zamarripa,
Stubbs, Sargent, Shankland, Pope and Spreitzer. Referred to Committee on
AR5,1,3 1Relating to: commemorating the date of the Bay View labor strike and tragedy and
2the removal of the portrait of Jeremiah Rusk from public display in the
3Assembly parlor during an ensuring week of commemoration.
AR5,1,84 Whereas, Wisconsin workers and reformers have long made important
5contributions in the history of labor in the United States, having helped enact new
6state laws early in the 20th century, such as Worker's Compensation and
7Unemployment Insurance, that, in turn, were adopted by other states and the
8federal government; and
AR5,1,119 Whereas, decades earlier, in the late 1800s, workers were still struggling to
10attain basic rights in the workplace, and still generally labored at physically
11punishing jobs for 10 to 12 hours per day, six days per week; and
AR5,1,1412 Whereas, in the 1880s, workers in Milwaukee, like others in Chicago and across
13the country, began to advocate for the eight-hour workday, an early cornerstone of
14the basic bill of rights of all people in the workplace; and
1Whereas, facing no apparent efforts toward this reform on the part of
2employers, workers' organizations across the nation eventually called upon all
3workers to cease their labor if employers had not adopted a standard eight-hour
4workday by May 1, 1886; and
AR5,2,75 Whereas, in Milwaukee, civil parades and demonstrations developed over the
6first five days of May 1886, as workers peaceably and without violence joined the
7national work stoppage to protest and abolish inhumane work hours; and
AR5,2,118 Whereas, on May 2, 1886, there was a huge Eight-Hour Day Parade in which
9many German and Polish workers and their families walked to the picnic grounds,
10and on May 3, 1886, thousands of workers from the breweries and the building trades
11went on strikes and marched from factory to factory; and
AR5,2,1512 Whereas, by May 5, 1886, unrest among Milwaukee's laborers over the struggle
13for better work hours had led to more than a dozen strikes in the city, involving
14carpenters, coal heavers, sewer diggers, iron moulders, teamsters, common laborers,
15and other workers asking for humane work hours; and
AR5,2,1816 Whereas, the last grand factory in Milwaukee still in operation that day was
17the North Chicago Rolling Mill, in Bay View, which manufactured rails for the
18nation's railroads; and
AR5,2,2219 Whereas, on May 5, 1886, despite the threat of violence from the state militia,
20a crowd of striking workers started to walk, peaceably and unarmed, to the Rolling
21Mill to enjoin the workers there, known as iron puddlers, to participate in the general
22strike; and
AR5,3,223 Whereas, despite the law-abiding nature of their procession, this group of
24walking laborers was fired upon by the state militia upon direct orders from

1Governor Jeremiah Rusk to do so, killing seven people and wounding four, including
2innocent bystanders; and
AR5,3,63 Whereas, some 50 of those workers who marched that day and were fired upon
4were indicted on charges of rioting and conspiracy for merely exercising their right
5of freedom to assemble, and three of them eventually served six to nine months in
6prison; and
AR5,3,107 Whereas, the infamous events of May 5, 1886, will remain a part of Wisconsin's
8cultural and economic legacy forever, and should remind us in the present to honor
9the sacrifices our forebears made, including laying down their lives, so that all those
10who labor might lead safer and more productive work lives; and
AR5,3,1411 Whereas, the citizens of Bay View and Milwaukee commemorate this pivotal
12series of events annually on the first Sunday of May at the site of the Bay View
13Rolling Mill Historic Marker at S. Superior Street and E. Russell Avenue in
14Milwaukee; now, therefore, be it
AR5,3,21 15Resolved by the assembly, That on May 5 of each year and during the ensuing
16week, to commemorate the Bay View strike and tragedy and the sad fact of deadly
17opposition used by then-Governor Jeremiah Rusk, the assembly chief clerk shall
18remove the portrait of Jeremiah Rusk that hangs in the Assembly parlor from all
19public display and shall hang in its place on those days the historic portrait of the
20iron puddlers at the Bay View Rolling Mill that regularly hangs in the offices of
21Assembly District 20.
AR5,3,2222 (End)