Labor Day: A Brief History and Thanks from Axis Builders

happy labor day

For generations, Labor Day has been a symbolic end to the summer season for many Americans.  While Labor Day is a perfect time to spend the day with family and friends, it is also an opportunity to look back and reflect on exactly what Labor Day is and why it is celebrated. Axis Builders appreciates that the construction industry has built upon the hard work and determination of those who have come before us.

Houston commercial general contractors

Harsh Work Conditions Lead to Unrest

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American laborer was clocking in to work 12 hours days, often 7 days a week, and still barely able to make ends meet.  Unfortunately, the issue was not just long workdays, but also poor working conditions. There were often problems with lack of access to clean air, breaks for meals, sanitary facilities, and more.  On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers decided to leave work and march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City to challenge their work conditions.  This is often referred to as the first Labor Day Parade in U.S. History.

Continued Unrest Leads to Change

As manufacturing became a mainstay in the United States, labor unions began to pop up to protect the laborers.  As conditions worsened, construction workers, miners, factory workers, and others became more and more vocal about their working conditions, often with the help of the labor unions.  Eventually, unrest lead to strikes and rallies to encourage employers to improve pay, hours, and working conditions. 

Years later, even after many states had passed legislation of their own recognizing a day for laborers, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike because of poor working conditions and the firing of union representatives. In late June, a boycott of all Pullman railway cars was called for, essentially halting railroad traffic across the nation.  A governmental response was to dispatch troops to Chicago, which resulted in a wave of riots across the region.

Laborers across the country were dismayed.  The American way of life was owed in large part to their contributions and yet the treatment of these workers was generally unchanged. Finally seeing the need for change, to repair relations with construction, factory, mill, and farmworkers across the country, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.  President Grover Cleveland signed Labor Day into law on June 28, 1894, finally giving American laborers the acknowledgment they deserve.

Thank You from Axis Builders

As a commercial contractor, we take pride in the work we perform and the projects we buildEvery day, on every job, we watch with satisfaction as our employees and sub-contractors show up, work hard, and are dedicated to their craft. We have been blessed with a great team, a team that takes pride in creating new spaces and reinventing old spaces for our Houston, TX community. 

Though the American worker had to fight through many trials and tribulations to gain their God-given rights, it is their grit that has also shown the world what it means to be an American worker and Axis Builders is proud to employ some of the very best workers this day and age. 

At Axis Builders, we want to take the opportunity this Labor Day to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those that we have worked with in the past, that we currently work with now, and those that we will work with in the future for their every day exceptional effort and commitment to the construction industry. Thank you and Happy Labor Day!

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