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Happy Labor Day 2013

Published on August 30th, 2013 by

The Friday before Labor Day…Happy Labor Day 2013

For most of us this means the last hurrah of summer, the final perfect BBQ, and the last remaining weekend before the kiddos go back to school. As Americans, we know that the celebration of Labor Day is for those of us who punch the clock Monday-Friday and endure the daily grind to stay afloat financially. It’s a bonus day off of work, an adult “snow day,” and we love it. But did you know that the push to make Labor Day a federal holiday began because of here, or more specifically, on the Southside due to the Pullman Worker Strike in 1894?

The spirit of Labor Day had been previously celebrated for ten years elsewhere in the United States with parades here and there at the end of summer. However, it was because of the mass affect of the Pullman Worker’s Strike that convinced President Cleveland and Congress to designate the day as a federal holiday, six days after the strike ended.

The Pullman Strike was a nationwide railroad strike that took place throughout the United States in the summer of 1894. The strike began here on the Southside of Chicago when 4,000 factory workers went on strike in response to wage reductions. Many of the factory workers who built the Pullman train cars lived in a community on the Southside that was considered a “model neighborhood” for the industrial workers. Yet when the Pullman Company lowered wages and laid of workers, they did not adjust the rents of the workers’ homes. When the Pullman company refused to make rent adjustments or any arbitration, mass discontent began to develop and the Chicago workers called for a strike.

At its peak, some 250,00 workers across 27 states boycotted the railways. Tension grew between workers for and against the strike and 30 people were killed, 57 wounded, and an estimated $80 million in damages were caused. The scene was so terrible that President Grover Cleveland called for federal intervention from U.S. Marshals and the Army. He quickly worked with Congress to push the holiday through to appease the public who was still reeling from the aftermath of the strike.

Other facts about Labor Day:

  • It is celebrated on the first Monday of every September
  • Europe celebrates May Day, their version of Labor Day, on May 1st
  • The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City
  • More than 10,000 workers marched in the first Labor Day parade protesting 16 hour workdays
  • Most accounts say Peter J. McGuire, a carpenter and labor union leader, was the person who came up with the idea for Labor Day
  • Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day a state holiday
  • Labor Day marks the beginning of football season with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following the holiday

Aaron Bros. Moving System, Inc. wishes you a Happy Labor Day from our family to yours!!!


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