Labor Day was established as a federal holiday in 1894. However, it was several more decades before workers started to obtain better pay and working conditions.
Here are a few historical images documenting a couple of their stories and some of the laborers who went on strike to improve their working lives.
1908 Labor Day Parade
News of Passaic Labor Strikers, 1912
Boston Boys on Strike from Tire Factory, early 1900s
Garment Workers Strike, 1915
Lowell, Massachusetts Striking Workers, c1916
Painters’ Strike, Chicago, 1915
The era between 1900-1920 was an extremely active time period for labor workers demanding changes in working environments, not just in factories, but for trade union workers, too.
Today, many us think of Labor Day weekend as the traditional end of summer with little thought to what the holiday actually represents. We need to think about those who went before us who, in often dangerous times, spoke up for improved conditions.
All images from Chronicling America and Library of Congress Photos and Images, all unrestricted use.