|The Haymarket Affair|
The stuff we never learned in high school...let me tell ya'. The Haymarket Affiair, when US Marshals were hired by the Pullman company and shot protesters dead was a wild tale if you were pro-business and a holy day if you were union.
I grew up in Michigan where labor unions were the norm. My dad grew up in the time when Ford unionists were beaten half to death by Henry's thugs for even talking about organizing. In the depths of the depression my dad landed a job at the huge Ford Plant in River Rouge. His job was to sort lugnuts - the ones that hold the wheels on cars. Seems that there were several different sizes and heads on these nuts and Ford found it was cheaper to hire 5 guys to sort them out rather than sort them in the manufacturing area.
|Ford's River Rouge Plant - Tool and Dye Shop|
where my dad worked.
Anyway, my dad got inventive and found that if you drilled holes in some sort of chute, from small to big, the nuts would sort them selves just by falling through. Great idea. You other four are fired. My dad had to quit because of death threats and left the Ford Plant with a $25 bonus and a police escort.
So as we observe Labor Day this long weekend, you might want to know how it came about (or not).
Here you go:
In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada. Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.
Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation's trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers' Day. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.