Revisiting the Bay View Massacre: Where a Wisconsin Governor Ordered the National Guard to Open Fire on Protesting Union Members | WisCommunity

Revisiting the Bay View Massacre: Where a Wisconsin Governor Ordered the National Guard to Open Fire on Protesting Union Members

 In 1886, Wisconsin unions were fighting for the eight hour work day that we take for granted today. 

Union protestors were going from factory to factory to urge workers to walk-out until their employers adopted eight hour work days.

This, of course, was not to the liking of the factory owners, who pressured Gov. Rusk to  stomp down the unions with an iron fist. And stomp down he did as the protestors made their way to North Chicago Rolling Mills in Bay View:

Guardsmen had positioned themselves on the hill above the entrance to the plant as the crowd moved through the Kinnickinnic Valley.

Major George P. Traeumur, the commander, called the governor, who had set up a temporary headquarters in a Milwaukee hotel. He gave the order to fire. According to the Milwaukee Daily Journal's report of the shooting, an officer told the troops:

"When you are ordered to shoot, pick out a man and shoot to kill."

The marchers were warned to stop their advance.  When they did not, the troops fired. When the shooting was over, at least seven people were dead, including one young boy.

So, in Wisconsin, its pretty jaw-dropping for a governor to threaten to bring the national guard to control protestors, especially when it comes to union protestors.  Its like threatening Kent State protestors another visit from the national guard if they don't behave themselves.  

Walker's threat to bring in the National Guard-- even before there were any union protests-- was disgusting, tasteless and horribly inapropriate and should be an embarassment to ALL Wisconsinites.  

Published

February 15, 2011 - 3:37pm

Author

randomness