Home History Relaxed holiday with a violent past

Relaxed holiday with a violent past

by Michael Polzella

Labor Day gives us a day off to relax and spend with friends or family. But most people probably aren’t aware of the holiday’s violent origins.

Employees of a railroad car manufacturing business called the Pullman Company organized a strike in Chicago on May 11, 1894. The employees were protesting company founder George Pullman’s decision to lower wages after the economic depression of the 1890s. Federal troops stepped in to end the strike, and a violent clash between soldiers and strikers ensued. Thirty people died.

A few months later, President Grover Cleveland established Labor Day as a national holiday.

Courtney Grigsby, The Tampa Bay 100

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