Each year on the near-south side of Milwaukee a few hundred folks gather together to commemorate the Bay View Tragedy, the bloodiest day — May 5 1886 — in the history of the labor movement in Wisconsin. I won’t bother rehashing the clash right now (you’re welcome to read about it here). Instead, I would like to reconsider it in the context of our contemporary world, from Fox News and Foxconn to Scott Walker and Steve Jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: 8 hour day
Today marks the 125th anniversary of the Bay View Massacre, wherein five day laborers, a 13-yr-old schoolboy, and a retired mill worker were mercilessly shot at and killed by the Wisconsin state militia for striking in protest for an 8 hour day. (Remember the 8-hr day and the 40-hr week? Remember not working overtime without being paid time and a half, or not having to come in the office Saturdays, or not checking your BlackBerry or smart phone? Remember Dolly Parton singing about “9 to 5”? This is all hard to believe now, I know, since it sets apart with seamless anachronism our current system, thanks to the present relationship between capital and labor never being a more perfect model of parody — I mean parity. Alas, it’s true: once upon a time the job creators were interested in nothing more than making a profit for themselves and their shareholders that never did trickle down to the actual workers who made everything profitable. Thank the two Almighty’s — God and the dollar — that today we’re flush with companies and corporations alike who practically compete over who’s more patriotic and supportive of working families!
It was not ever thus, however. Read the rest of this entry »