Labor Day

Category: Education

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The History of Labor Day : 

The History of Labor Day An outgrowth of violence became a day of peace and rest. Source: and

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Labor Day is observed each year on the first Monday in September. The first Labor Day was celebrated in the United States on September 5, 1882 as a New York City holiday. Twelve years later in 1894 there was a nationwide strike between labor unions and railroads. The conflict began in the town of Pullman, Illinois on May 11, 1894 when approximately 3,000 employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company began a strike in response to recent reductions in wages, which stopped all railroad traffic in the United States west of Chicago, Illinois. During the economic panic of 1893, the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages as demands for their train cars plummeted and the company's revenue dropped.

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A delegation of union workers complained of the low wages and the twelve-hour workdays. Further the company owned and operated the town of Pullman, Illinois and didn't decrease the rent charged to their employees on company owned homes. The company owner George Pullman refused to negotiate with the union and its members.

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The railroad companies began hiring strikebreakers, people who cross union picket lines during a strike and take the jobs of the union workers. The strike was broken up by United States Marshals and some 12,000 United States Army troops, sent in by President Grover Cleveland on the premise that the strike interfered with the delivery of U.S. Mail. During the course of the strike, 13 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. An estimated 6,000 rail workers did $340,000 worth of property damage, about $8,818,000 if adjusted for inflation to 2010.

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As a result of the strike and the violence on both sides, President Cleveland put reconciliation with Labor as a top political priority. He was worried about further conflict with unions and their workers, so he introduced legislation making Labor Day a national holiday. The legislation was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law just six days after the end of the strike. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parades.

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Events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and the appearances by candidates for public office. The forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last 3 day weekend to travel before the children return to school, although school starting times now vary . In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.

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