Sunday, April 30, 2006

May 1st, Labor Day

In several countries all around the world, May 1st is the day in which take place the Labor Day's celebrations. But have you ever wondered why is such day chosen to be the one to commemorate workers?
Many years ago, still in the 19th century, the work day's duration was not clearly defined and this drove to exploitation of workers, who were forced to work for long periods that didn't allow them to have enough time to rest and spend with their families. This situation obviously caused unhappiness among the labor force and the situation was deteriorating as time kept running. In October 17, 1884, and after a long struggle between workers and bosses, the American Federation of Labor stated that starting from May 1, 1886, the labor day would legally last eight hours per day. Additionally, the workers said that if such arrangement wasn't respected by the bosses, they'd begin a strike.
Such strike started in the mentioned date in Chicago, and it lasted until May 4, when the workers gathered in a place named Haymarket Square. They were repressed by the Police, who killed and wounded an undetermined amount of workers after an explosion occured, which had a policeman's death as result. After this disturbs, hundreds of workers were arrested, beaten and tortured.
In June 21, 1886, a trial was established to determine the responsibility of 31 workers in this riots, some of them (mostly foreigners) were hung. After all this sad incidents, many patrons decided to accept the 8 hour work day and since then, May 1 is the day in which workers celebrate Labor Day, to commemorate the beginning of the strike in Chicago that led to fair working conditions.


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