Rewind
By Henry Phillips
on 9.2.13
Photo by Eric Yang

Though there’s some debate about who initially proposed the idea of a day to celebrate America’s workforce at the turn of the 20th century, Labor Day’s tenure as a Federal holiday had a rather rocky impetus. During the summer of 1894 employees of the Pullman Railroad company went on strike and impeded train traffic to protest low wages, effectively shutting down rail service west of Detroit. The Feds, having none of this nonsense quickly and violently intervened by sending 12,000 US Army troops, putting an end to the strike and 30 lives. To try and reunite the country after such a tenuous summer, the Cleveland administration rushed through legislation for a national holiday to celebrate American workers everywhere on the first monday of September. Labor Day was born.

These days we don’t worry so much about the origins but tend to focus more on having one last gasp of summer before our minds shift from weekends on the beach to falling leaves and football. Even though the way we celebrate Labor Day has changed over the past 119 years, we think its worth acknowledging a few superlatives of American manufacturing. With that, here’s a rewind of our salutes to American workers. Happy Labor Day.

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