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The Roots of Labor Day: May Day Versus Labor

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The Roots of Labor Day:  May Day versus Labor Day..

Labor Day is a national holiday dedicated to American workers.In the 19th century, the industrial revolution reached its peak, and many Americans had to work 12 hours a day seven days a week. Even small children worked in factories and died striking in the Silk Mills located in  Paterson New Jersey. Almost none of the employers provided their employees with sick leave, paid leave or medical benefits.

When workers began to unionize, they began to protest against difficult and unsafe working conditions and demand more substantial benefits from employers. Both Labor Day and International Workers' Day, which is celebrated on May 1, are established in honor of the  american workers.

In May 1886, a demonstration of workers who spoke for the 8 hour work day took place at Haymarket Square in Chicago. An explosion occurred during the protest, killing seven policemen and four civilians. 

After the events at Haymarket Square a powerful anti-union movement appeared. Over the years, May Day has become increasingly associated with left-wing radicals. 

Topics: Pullman Brothers Strike, A. Phillip Ranolph: Sanitation Workers Martin Luther King: Caulkers Isaac Myers; Paterson Mill Boys 1835: Newsie boys; Paul Robeson Internationalist.