June 3, 2023

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Labor Day: What is its origin, and why is it commemorated on May 1? | International Labor Day | Labor Day | Chicago Martyrs | The world

The look that sparked the celebration Comes from the late 19th century. The In 1886, strikes began in Chicago, USA, demanding an eight-hour day.

The protest lasted until May 4, when the call was made Homemarket riot. A mobilization, the balance of which left the repression of the security forces, the deaths of both police and protesters and the arrest of dozens of workers; 5 of them were later hanged. So, this date pays homage to the Chicago martyrs.

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The claims of this sector are not new, they have already emerged from the terrible work environment that brought about the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain in the eighteenth century. Honestly, In 1884, at the Fourth Congress of the Confederation of American and Canadian Workers, workers were called to demand an eight-hour workday.

Motto repeated in other countries: “Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for home”. At that time, employees had to comply with daily schedules of 12, 16 and 18.

Strictly speaking, In 1868, US President Andrew Johnson signed into law the Ingersoll Act, which established the eight-hour day., But with clauses that allow them to increase. However, there were many states and employers who broke it.

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In this historical context, the response of various labor and trade union organizations Chicago – Mostly made up of anarchists, communists and socialists The strike began on May 1, 1886.

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The demonstration began with more than 80,000 workers. Since then, the conflict has spread to other cities in the United States, with more than 400,000 workers on strike, 5,000 simultaneously.

That day, an unidentified man detonated a bomb in which 67 policemen were injured, seven of whom died. Security forces then opened fire on the workers, many of whom were killed and wounded. The government announced a siege and curfew order; The stops were stopped. Authorities arrested a large number of strikers in the following days.

On June 21, 1886, the trial of 31 workers accused of being responsible for the conflict began, including eight. Penalty for all: life imprisonment for two, 15 years hard labor for one and execution for five. They were called Chicago Martyrs.

In 1887, the new governor of Illinois criticized the trial and pardoned imprisoned trade unionists. In 1889, at the Paris Conference of the Second International, it was agreed to celebrate International Labor Day on May 1 in memory of the “martyrs …”.

Ironically, in Canada and the United States, Labor Day is not commemorated on May 1st. Although both countries are decisive in the claim that led to the popular celebration, they have Labor Day there, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September.

Strictly speaking, the date chosen for the march organized by the Central Workers Union in New York on September 5, 1882. It has not changed since, though President Grover signed a congressional proposal establishing a holiday to celebrate Cleveland Labor Day in 1894, but he did not want it on May 1 because he feared it would be associated with hamarket events. And similar demonstrations will be called.

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