The Bay View 1886 labor worker’s massacre of seven men by the Wisconsin State militia will be commemorated on Sunday with a march and then followed by a ceremony at the historical marker with keynote speaker, Luz Sosa.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
May 7, 2017
Bay View, Wisconsin – On Sunday, May 7, Luz Sosa, the union Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers in Wisconsin and Community Organizer for Acción Ciudadana de Wisconsin will be the invited keynote speaker at the Bay View re-enactment of the 131st Anniversary of the May 5, 1886 Wisconsin State militia massacre of seven unarmed labor workers, Frank Kunkel, Frank Nowarczyk, John Marsh, Robert Erdman, Johann Zazka, Martin Jankowiak, and Michael Ruchalski near the Bay View Rolling Mills manufacturing company. The ceremony is open to the public and Sosa will be speaking around 3:00 p.m. at the historical marker located at the corner of E. Russell Ave. and S. Superior St. in Bay View.
A public and labor workers march will assemble at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of S. Bay St. and E. Lincoln Ave., then it will proceed at 2:00 p.m. to the historical marker location. Music will be provided as well. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Labor Historical Society (WLHS).
History in brief: According to the WLHS, Wisconsin’s most historic and bloody labor incident occurred on May 5, 1886 on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Bay View area of Milwaukee. That day dawned after four days of massive worker demonstrations throughout Milwaukee on behalf of the creation of eight-hour day laws. Milwaukee was part of the national movement to create an eight-hour work day.
As some 1,500 workers marched toward the Bay View Rolling Mills (then the area’s biggest manufacturer) urging the workers there to join the march, the State Militia lined up on a hill with guns poised. The marchers were ordered to stop form some 200 yards away; when they didn’t, the militiamen fired into the crowd, killing seven unarmed workers.
The marchers dispersed and the eight-hour days marches ended. The incident, in spite of its immediate end to eight-hour day efforts, spurred workers and their families to look forward to build a more progressive society in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.Eventually, the eight-hour work day in the U.S. was later achieved.
Update: Luz Sosa’s speech at the Bay View 131st Anniversary of the massacre of 7 workers by the state militia on May 5, 1886. Most of the workers killed were among 1,500 people struggling to enact an eight-hour work day.