- September 4, 2017
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Community & Friendship
As I woke up on Labor Day I wondered if people really knew why we celebrate this federal holiday.
The Labor Day holiday is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” ~ U.S. Department of Labor
The Pullman Strike of 1894 preceded the United States Congress unanimous approval to make Labor Day a national holiday
The Pullman Strike was a Chicago based railroad strike that disrupted railroad traffic from June to July 0f 1892. The strike was a response by Pullman workers to the treatment of the Pullman company who, in response to the depression, cut wages but did not reduce the rent that they were charging to workers and their families who lived in the company town. When a peaceful group of workers went too Pullan to complain about the wages, 16-hour workdays and subpar living conditions he ordered them fired. A strike was born.
The strike would not come to an end until the United States Army and Marshals Service stepped in. President Cleveland gave the order. It did not go as planned. The federal troops and the strikers clashed violently. Communities became enraged and riots broke out. Time describes it as “one of the bloodiest strikes in U.S. history.”
President Cleveland’s popularity suffered. He would never be President again.
So here we are on the first Monday of September having read through a history lesson. I hope that you have learned something, I know I did.
Most people see the Labor Day holiday as an end of summer celebration. However, I feel that it is important to understand that it is much more than that.