Chicago Labor History

Haymarket MemorialAs a result of the late-19th century labor movement, Labor Day was first declared a federal holiday in 1894, officially observing the struggles and contributions of American workers. Chicago played a key role in the fight for better working conditions and pay with incidents like the Haymarket Riot of 1886 and the Pullman Strike in 1894. In spite of some progress with New Deal legislation, workers continued rallying against unfair conditions well into the 20th century. Learn more about the Chicago labor movement through the Illinois Labor History Society’s website. The website provides information regarding historic sites and museums commemorating significant events in our labor history. You can also explore Chicago’s labor history with the following books, available from our library: Staff. (2010). Labor Day. Retrieved from
Illinois Labor History Society. Chicago. Retrieved from

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