North Chicago Rolling Mill

The Bay View tragedy

In May 1886, state militia soldiers fired on protestors during a labor dispute at the North Chicago Rolling Mill in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. Carl Swanson illustration

In May 1886, state militia soldiers fired on protesters during a labor dispute at the North Chicago Rolling Mill in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. Carl Swanson illustration

Milwaukee’s first large-scale labor action started on May 1, 1886, and culminated in violence and death four days later.

The demand for an eight-hour working day was the key issue. At the time a typical work day was 10 or 12 hours and, often, six days a week. By May 3rd, 10,000 Milwaukeeans were idle, either on strike or locked out by employers who shut down in the face of escalating violence.

(more…)