Today is “Labour/Labor Day” in the US, and most, but not all workers have a day off to celebrate with family and friends. On May 1st, “International Workers’ Day” is also celebrated on a worldwide scale to remember significant labor movements throughout history. Both days also celebrate the social and economic achievements of workers who have contributed so much to the strength and prosperity of their own countries through their work efforts.
A machinist named Matthew Maguire first proposed Labor Day back in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. A number of workers had recently died at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, and Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation making Labor Day a national holiday.
The Haymarket Massacre/Riot in Chicago, which occurred on Tuesday May 4 in 1886, is what prompted “International Workers’ Day.” A peaceful rally supporting an eight-hour day for workers went horribly wrong when someone threw a bomb at police who were dispersing the public meeting/strike. Seven officers and four civilians died while scores of others were seriously wounded.
In the internationally publicized trial that ensued, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy. This event is thought to have been the origin of international “May Day” observances for workers everywhere.
So, with over one hundred years well behind us, commemorating the labor, the contributions, and the rights of workers everywhere, how much progress have we made? I thought I’d let pictures from today speak to this very question. Celebrate your family and friends, and your good working conditions today, if you are fortunate enough to have such conditions……not everyone does.