History of Labor Day

Many states celebrated a “labor day” in the late 1800s but Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. One of the probable reasons for the federal holiday was that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was attempting to placate organized labor after the Pullman Strike, a nation-wide railroad strike that ended after many lives were lost and much property was destroyed. Workers began the strike at the Pullman Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894, as a reaction to wage cuts. You can visit the Pullman National Monument and Historic Pullman Foundation at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Chicago.

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