Labor Day is popularly recognized as the end of summer, the beginning of fall, the start of the school year, and in some years the dawn of campaign season. A day for picnics, barbecues and final trips to local pools or swimming holes. A milestone signaling that cooler temperatures and shorter days are fast approaching.
Few are aware that a unanimous Congress and President Grover Cleveland created Labor Day just six days after 30 workers were killed and 57 workers were injured in the government’s violent suppression of The Pullman Strike of 1894. Despite revulsion toward the violence that broke that strike, it would be decades more before government began to minimally protect workers’ basic rights, including the right to organize unions.