May Day

I remember my corporate days and later the time spent in kitchen restaurants; where 8 hour working hours were merely a formality. Minimum people work for 10 to 12 hours or sometimes even more. The fear of competition, job insecurity, the hunger for growth made all of us slog for days and months and years. The health & food never got its share of due attention. I remember one of my boss asking me why was I leaving so early at 7 pm, after putting in 10 hours of work already. Some of my colleagues I remember used to wait till the bosses left for the day; just to leave the ‘good’ impression. For all those who don’t know, how much blood was shed and how many lives were lost, am sharing what happened 125 years ago; that led to recognition of an 8- hour shift. Please don’t let it go waste. Stay Happy & Stay Healthy. Happy Labour Day.

1st May was chosen to be International Workers' Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago. In that year beginning on 1 May, there was a general strike demanding for the eight-hour workday. On 4 May, the police acted to disperse a public assembly in support of the strike when an unidentified person threw a bomb. The police responded by firing on the workers. The event lead to the death of eight and injury of sixty police officers and  several civilians getting killed or wounded. Hundreds of labour leaders and sympathizers were later rounded-up and four were executed by hanging, after a trial that was considered as a miscarriage of justice. The following day on 5 May in Milwaukee Wisconsin, the state militia fired on a crowd of strikers killing seven, including a schoolboy and a man feeding chickens in his yard. 
In 1889, a meeting in Paris was held by the first congress of the Second International, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne that called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891. 

Subsequently, the May Day riots of 1894 occurred, leading to The International Socialist Congress, Amsterdam 1904 called on "all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day. The congress made it mandatory for organisations of all countries to stop work on 1 May, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers.