#64 – Inside Our Industry – Labor DayPosted on | Inside Our Industry
Yesterday was Labor Day in the United States. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. This annual celebration of workers and their achievements originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters.
In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.
People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks.
A number of historical events led to the creation of Labor Day, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886 and the Pullman Palace Car Company strike in 1894.
Today, Labor Day is less about recognizing the contributions of American workers and more about celebrating the end of summer. But let’s hope that as we move forward in such trying times, we do not forget the importance and value of those American workers in helping our country to meet the challenges of today and providing solutions for tomorrow.