The Milwaukee GMB will be participating in local May Day Events in Milwaukee again this year and calls on workers, students, retirees and their families to join us. The GMB will meet at 6th St and Mineral St. on Milwaukee's near South Side. This is right off of the freeway and should make it easy for workers from anywhere to join us. Dressed in our colors we will meet at, or before, 1:30pm with our posters, signs, banners and flags.
WI Historical Society Memorial: The Fight for the Eight Hour Day
Later in the afternoon the Milwaukee GMB will be at the 125th Commemoration of the Rolling Mills Massacre in Bay View. This marks the anniversary of the last time WI had a Governor not just willing to call out the National Guard on the citazenry but anxious to do so to keep his benefactors happy. Then as now it was well planned ahead of time. The difference then was the lag time between when something happened somewhere and when others found out about it.
For all it's Progressive history there was another time in our past when the monied interests of the land, oil and industrial barons were neaarly as powerful as the modern CEO/CFO/COO. At that time it was also all about the bottom line, maximizing profits and minimizing costs and passing protectionist legislation to calm the fears of the American aristocracy. The vast majority of workers then were recently "freed" slaves known as share croppers, immigrants and the poor, landless wretch.
At that time too WI workers stood up and took theor place in the vangaurd of worker and human rights warriors even though there was no real recognition of such ideas as these. Not by the overlords. Then, much as now, workers were expected to work 7 days a week, 12 or 16 hours a day, if not longer. Some few employers gave workers Sundys off, or more often a later start time.
Then, as now, workers gathered by the tens and hundreds of thousands. Peacably. Willig to loose their job with an uncaring, unfeeling employer they gathered to air their grievences and negotiate a reasonable compromise. Then, much as now, employers wanted only undying loyalty and a lifelong committment to spend every waking moment working for said employer. Whenever and for however long as the employer demanded.