Labor Day: The Protest and Riot that gave you the 8 Hour Work Day

Medium.com – By Robyn Kagan Harrington – Sep 05, 2022

There was a time when American workers consisted of children as young as five years old. During this time, the average workday was twelve hours without a break. There were no laws regarding workplace safety. The result was working in unsanitary factories and injured workers. Injured workers were not compensated.

Labor unions began organizing strikes and rallies. They were protesting work conditions and fighting for protections we enjoy today. Some of these demonstrations became violent.

In 1882, ten thousand workers took off work, losing pay, to march in New York. They marched from City Hall to Union Square, and this is considered the first Labor Day parade. Other states began to make a “workingmen’s holiday” that was celebrated on the first Monday in September.

On May 11, 1894, there was a strike of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago after there were wage cuts. June 26th, the American Railroad Union called for a boycott of the Pullman railway cars. The federal government sent troops to break the strike. Riots ensued, and more than a dozen workers were killed. In response to this, on June 28, 1894, Congress made Labor Day a legal Holiday.

People died to fight for better working conditions we all enjoy today. Labor unions gave us Labor Day, a forty-hour workweek, and gave us the weekend we know today, fair wages, the end of child labor, and sanitary and safe work conditions. These are just a few of the things unions did for workers. So, while you are celebrating your day off this Labor Day, maybe you take a moment to remember the people that fought and died for worker’s rights and thank them.

Read entire article & see pictures here

Posted by Teri Perticone

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