Longtime Wisconsin Labor Leader Marty Beil Dies At 68

Beil Led State Public Employee Union For 3 Decades

Shawn Johnson/WPR

Longtime public employee union leader Marty Beil — an outspoken icon of organized labor in Wisconsin — has died.

Beil retired from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees earlier this year after more than 40 years of leadership, including 30 years as executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union.

Beil oversaw a union that once enjoyed tremendous political power and watched in recent years as that power was stripped away. His outspoken style made him the face of the union struggle in some ways, but Beil was always quick to reference all the working people who had come before him, as he did in an interview with Wisconsin Public Televion in 2010.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“You know, this union representing state employees has been here almost 80 years,” Beil said. “We’ve been through politicians. They come and they go. We’ll always be here.”

When he retired in June, Beil said young people gave him the confidence that unions will succeed and “workers will eventually prevail.” An AFSCME spokesman said Beil died peacefully in his home Thursday night. He was 68.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story featured Associated Press content. It has been updated with original reporting.

While supplies last... WPR Sticker Pack. With your gift of any amount. Donate Now.