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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Padway, Joseph Arthur 1891 - 1947


lawyer, labor counsel, politician, b. Leeds, England. He migrated to the U.S. in 1905, and to Milwaukee about 1906 or 1907. He graduated from Marquette Univ. (LL.B., 1912), was admitted to the bar, and set up a law practice in Milwaukee. In 1915 he became general counsel for the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, eventually becoming legal counsel for all A.F. of L. affiliated unions in the state, including the Milwaukee Federated Trades Council, the Milwaukee City and County Civil Service Employees, and the Milwaukee Building Trades Council. Originally a Socialist, Padway was elected to the state senate on that ticket in 1924, served in the session of 1925, but resigned in 1926 to serve as judge of the Milwaukee civil court (1926-1927). He gradually allied himself with the Progressive Republicans in Wisconsin, served as treasurer of the Republican state central committee (1931), and from 1933 to 1937 was a regent of the state normal schools. Faithful to his union obligations and closely allied with the Progressive program, Padway was instrumental in preparing much of the Wisconsin labor legislation passed into law between 1915 and 1935. These measures included the revision of the railroad corporation law, unemployment cornpensation, the minimum wage and hour law, the anti-yellow dog contract law, and the law making jury trial mandatory in labor contempt cases. These statutes were usually well in advance of similar labor legislation passed by other states and the federal government. Throughout the 1920's Padway was counsel to a number of Wisconsin unions involved in labor disputes, and won national recognition for his role as counsel during the bitter Kohler Co. strike of 1934. In 1938 Padway left Wisconsin to serve as general counsel for the American Federation of Labor and served in this capacity until his death. In this role he was recognized as labor's legal spokesman in the nation's courts and in Congress. Wis. Reports, 257 (1951), pp. xxvii-xxxiv; Who's Who in Amer., 21 (1940); Amer. Federationist, 54 (Nov., 1947); N.Y. Times, Oct. 9, 1947; Milwaukee Journal, Oct. 9, 1947.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Joseph A. Padway Papers for details.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]

1 records found

Padway, Joseph Arthur 1891 - 1947

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