The Blood and Sweat Behind Labor Day"To most Americans, the first Monday in September means a three-day weekend and the last hurrah of summer, a final outing at the shore before school begins, a family picnic.
But Labor Day was born in a time when work was no picnic. As America was moving from farms to factories in the Industrial Age, there was a long, violent, often-deadly struggle for fundamental workers' rights, a struggle that in many ways was America's "other civil war." It was a war fought when 12-hour days and six-day weeks were routine. Wages were low; there were no sick days, pensions or holidays. There was certainly no unemployment insurance. Any attempts at organizing were met by the combined wrath of business and government. The business of America was business.
That conflict, a period in which thousands of workers died in America's unsafe and unsanitary factories and mines, and hundreds more died in riots and pitched battles over workers' rights, is the little-noted history behind this holiday." Download entire article by