Today is May Day, or International Workers’ Day. Interestingly, May Day originated in Chicago, Illinois, where demonstrators organised in May of 1886 after a two year effort to rally support for enforcement of eight hour work days. The Haymarket Meeting was put to an end by over zealous police officers who stormed the otherwise peaceful meeting demanding more equitable and safer working conditions. Eight men were arrested for involvement with the riot, although some of them were not even at the event, four were executed, three eventually pardoned, and one died mysteriously in a jail cell from the impact of a dynamite explosion. Needless to say, in 1889, at an international meeting for labor in Paris, May Day was designated as International Workers Day in honor of those who were lost in the fight for an eight hour working day. Although, not really celebrated in the United States anymore, May Day maintains international significance, and is widely a day of celebration and/or protest to continue the fight for better working conditions across the globe.
So, thank you to the brave men and women who stood up for the eight hour working day a century ago.