...Submitted by Chris Simoleonski on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 05:27
Unfortunately, armed conflict at the ground level is not new to this nation
Introduction: In the 1880s, workers in Milwaukee began to agitate for the eight-hour workday that we take for granted; until then, workers generally put in much longer days. A two-year, nationwide campaign to get all employers to adopt a standard eight-hour day culminated on May 1st, 1886, when unions urged all American workers not yet on the system to stop working until their employers met the demand. In Milwaukee, peaceful parades and demonstrations prevailed as striking workers shut down factories without violence during the first five days of May1886. Then came word that in Chicago's Haymarket Square the police had killed demonstrators; many of Milwaukee's workers and businessmen began to prepare for armed confrontation.
The last important factory that remained open was the North Chicago Railroad Rolling Mills Steel Foundry in Bay View. On May 5, a crowd of demonstrators who went there to call out the workers still inside was attacked by troops. Five people were killed and four wounded. While the massacre at Bay View did not end the agitation, the shots fired dampened momentum for the movement and Governor Jeremiah Rusk became celebrated as a national hero, assumed to have saved Milwaukee from anarchy.