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You are here News Of Special Interest Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

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Pullman strikeMonday is the day to celebrate the American worker and his sacrifices and economic and social achievements.  You do know that, right?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.  Few recall the bloodstained origins of this holiday as we fire up the grill, throw on the burgers and dogs and turn on the U.S. Open tennis or maybe the Yanks, Mets or another ballgame.

And, in a sign of the times, the Sunday morning network news shows didn’t even offer their usual, token pre-Labor Day weekend spot for the head of the nation’s labor movement.

“No,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka when I asked him. “No invitations this year.”

I told the former mine worker-turned-lawyer that there seems to be a precious lack of understanding of the holiday’s origins.

In fact, it stems from an awful confrontation in Chicago in 1894 that saw federal marshals and the Army kill 30 striking Pullman railroad strikers.


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