Why is the world watching Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has been a bell weather for the voice of “We the People” for decades.

Wisconsin has a long history of labor activism.

“Fighting Bob” Lafollette

The state was the first to approve collective bargaining rights for government workers. Here are a few of the highlights of Wisconsin’s labor history:

1848: A walkout by ship carpenters in Milwaukee is probably the first worker strike in the state.

1865: The first labor union forms, the Molders Union Local 125 in Milwaukee.

1886: In May, the Wisconsin State Militia opens fire on strikers who, pushing for an eight-hour work day, had shut down most of the factories in Milwaukee. Seven strikers are killed.

1893: The state Federation of Labor, which later became the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, is founded.

1932: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is founded in Madison by a small group of state employees.

1959: The state Legislature passes the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, which made Wisconsin the first state to give local government workers and teachers collective bargaining rights.

Source: Wisconsin Historical Society

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