Monday, September 3, 2007

A Brief History of Labor Day

Labor Day, aka The Last Real Weekend of the Summer, never used to be about heading down to the shore and having a barbeque. For a really interesting, in-depth look, check out this article from Forbes. Here's the Reader's Digest version from the History Channel Website:

"On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. They sought support from their union led by Eugene V. Debs and on June 26 the American Railroad Union called a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Within days, 50,000 rail workers complied and railroad traffic out of Chicago came to a halt. On July 4, President Grover Cleveland dispatched troops to Chicago. Much rioting and bloodshed ensued, but the government's actions broke the strike and the boycott soon collapsed. Debs and three other union officials were jailed for disobeying the injunction. The strike brought worker's rights to the public eye and Congress declared, in 1894, that the first Monday in September would be the holiday for workers, known as Labor Day."

I think it's interesting that the entire country has forgotten about what Labor Day is really about, especially since worker injustices just keep piling up even today. Do you shop at Wal-Mart? STOP IT. I haven't shopped there in years, and not just because there isn't one in New York City. Check out this website and watch this movie if you don't know what I'm talking about. Ugh this deserves a special post all to itself.

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