The warmth of our safe space is the hard work of millions of laborers. Every entity that we consume is the creation of people who work in the blazing sun and sleepless nights. But Labor Day is not just honoring their relentless work; there is a history of grueling struggle for their rights. It is the day honoring the dignity of labor.
Origins of Labor Day
The economic progress of a nation relies heavily on the rapid development in the production and manufacturing sectors. With the first industrial revolution, all major independent countries in the 18th century were gearing up for the next phase.
The first-ever industrial revolution began in 1760 in England and lasted somewhere between 1820-1840, marking the most pivotal moment in human history.
America underwent its industrial revolution in the 1870s, also widely known as the ‘Second Industrial Revolution.’ By the 19th century, America was competing in manufacturing and mechanization of agriculture and introducing modern transport such as airplanes, steamships, and automobiles.
The rampant growth also indicated a decline in the value of labor. And thus began a long revolutionary fight for their rights.
Historical Significance and Reforms in Worker’s Rights
When socialist labor unions protested for basic human rights for working conditions, they were met with brutal resistance from the law enforcers. On May 1, 1886, in Chicago, the assembly of protesting workers was generally peaceful. But then an unidentified man threw a bomb, upon which the police began random gunfire. Seven police officers and 7-8 civilians lost their lives, while 30-40 were wounded. This massacre was the turning point for a necessary outrage.
In 1889, the international federation of socialist groups and trade unions commemorated May 1 as Labor Day to honor the lives lost in the riot.
Difference Between Labor Day and May Day
Grover Cleveland, then US president, was hesitant to associate with the socialist origins of Worker’s Day. Five years later, he assigned the 1st Monday of September as Labor Day for America. Ever since then, Labor Day in America and Canada has been celebrated in September.
The official date for International Labor Day, also known as May Day, is May 1, observed in around 80 countries, including, India, Cuba, and China. Fireworks, marches, social gatherings, and honoring labor of all kinds are the essence of this day.
What else can we do for Labor Rights in the modern era?
In an era of smart digital integration and AI, we are looking at a post-modern revolution. This also means the laborer’s rights are getting neglected in some parts of the world. From China’s warehouses to conflict mines in Congo, we are looking at grave working situations.
Now is the time to raise awareness and honor laborers across the globe.
How did you celebrate your holiday? What are some working conditions you would like to improve? Let us know in the comments section below.