Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor Day, May Day and the Eight-Hour Workday

In the United States, we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September, marking the unofficial end of summer. Everyone else around the world celebrates Labor Day on May 1, an event that marks the unofficial beginning of spring

On both days, most business comes to a halt to celebrate the work of ordinary people. (There are a few more parades on May 1 than on the first week of September).

The irony is that even though we don't celebrate May Day here as an official holiday, the global commemoration is based on a workers' strike that  occurred right here in the U.S. in May 1886, when some 200,000 U.S. workmen engineered a nationwide strike for an eight-hour day.

Here is more information from an article in Time magazine
"The May 1, 1886, labor action wasn't just any strike—it was part of what became known as the Haymarket affair. On May 1 of that year, Chicago (along with other cities) was the site of a major union demonstration in support of the eight-hour workday. The Chicago protests were meant to be part of several days of action,  Read full piece

So, on this Labor Day, I raise a toast to May Day and the creation of the Eight-Hour Workday.

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