Why is today a federal holiday?
It all goes back to a financial collapse, a ConservaDem, a labor leader and blood on the streets of Chicago.
May 02 2009
(Orange version of this diary.)
The immigrant labor movement in this country has come full circle. The immigrants are from different countries and the jobs have changed some but the issues are the same as they ever were.
On a sunny April day, I paid a visit to my favorite bakery in San Franciso, the Arizmendi Bakery. Amongst the the beautiful baguettes and the sumptuous scones, I saw a sign stating that the bakery would be closed on May 1 to celebrate Labor Day – the same day it is celebrated in Europe and many other places.
Since Arizmendi Bakery is a worker owned cooperative it didn’t surprise me that they would chose the May 1 observation. (I always figured the US had a different date for cold-war reasons). It turns out there’s an important reason why the world celebrates Labor Day is on May 1:
It’s to commemorate a hard fought, yet forgotten victory for American and immigrant workers that took place right here in the United States: the May 1, 1886 Haymarket Protest in Chicago.
So why doesn’t the US celebrate this?