One Busy Guy presents...
A HISTORY OF LABOR DAY
"Who from rude nature have carved and delved all the grandeur we behold." Peter McGuire
American Labor Unions taunted a very reluctant President Grover Cleveland into this election year compromise.
This particular date heavily involved the Pullman Sleeping Car company outside Chicago, Il. A small village founded by George Pullman was established in 1880 as staff housing for the many employees of his company. Pullman set the rentals and salaries for his strictly organized model city.
Everything went along rather well for some ten years. That's when orders for sleeping cars declined. Some workers were discharged while others suffered pay cuts. Rentals however remained constant and many workers protested for better wages and living conditions. Eugene Debs from the Union of American Railway Workers chimed in on behalf of the striking employees. Railway workers uniformly began boycotting trains carrying Pullman Sleeping Cars throwing the company into yet greater chaos.
Before long a full on riot had ensued. Trains were sabotaged and the mail went undelivered. President Grover Cleveland was understandably besieged by desperate industrialists and declared the entire strike illegal. Federal Marshals fired on protesters killing two ( sound familiar? ). The strike ended on August 3, 1894. Poor Mr. Debs was sent to prison and the Union of American Railway Workers was disbanded; essentially eliminating industrial labor unions until the Great Depression.
President Cleveland's harsh handling of this incident had made him pretty unpopular. In September of 1892 unionized New York City workers took an unpaid day off to demonstrate their support of a holiday recognizing labor by marching through Union Square en mas. 1894 was an election year and President Cleveland seized this chance to placate millions of workers by signing into law the holiday we now celebrate as Labor Day. He was not re-elected, but the Holiday lives on. It was Oregon who first enacted Labor Day into state law on the 21st of February 1887.
Labor Day is the last long weekend of Summer. It's arrival could not be more welcome since there are no holidays in August! We barbecue, we picnic, party and marvel at our achievements as we prepare our kids for the upcoming school year... and it's a paid Holiday as well!
We herald that subtle shift in the orbit of Earth. A shift in the angular relationships between Earth and the Sun; changes in climate that provides one region with Spring while creating Winter elsewhere (The Summer Solstice). It is also the sign of Virgo the 'adults' of the zodiac. It remembers us that Winter is only around the corner. We must garner the harvest that will carry us through Winter.
So this is a good thing, after all Winter is truly around the corner! It is on the first Monday of September that we honor the hardworking 'schmucks' in us all