Labor Day

Pullman workers exit the factory gates after a day's work. Most employees walked the short distance to their nearby Pullman-owned homes and apartments.

The first Monday in September does not have much meaning to many beyond time off from the daily grind for getting together for a BBQ to gorge, get drunk and blast the local classic rock station’s annual Top 500 tunes EVAH countdown.  But the federal holiday known as Labor Day was actually the result of a nationwide wildcat strike between labor unions and railroads in 1894 due to reduced wages.

President Cleveland ordered the Illinois National Guard to the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago (where the conflict began) to end the strike, which in turn, caused some in his cabinet to question as to whether a sitting president has the Constitutional authority to send out federal troops for domestic law enforcement purposes.

You see, back in the 1890s, Constitutional authority was regarded quite seriously, versus how it is today, where the executive branch of government pretty much does whatever the hell it wants to whether those actions are Constitutional or not. (Case in point:  President Bush having nationalized private business by bailing out select industries with taxpayer money.)

In the process of quelling the strike, the U.S. military had inflicted a number of worker deaths and, not wanting the conflict to get further out of control, the national holiday was rushed through Congress. It represented the reconciliation effort between government and the labor movement.

In essence, the president’s goon squad fired upon and killed  a number of civilians thereby violating the Posse Comitatus Act*,  and, Congress’s response was to legislate a national holiday.

Isn’t that touching?

Somebody better get me a tissue because I’m gettin’ all emotional.

Follow along here, class > > Federal troops killing civilians = day off from work and a parade.

Voila! Problem solved!

Fast forward 116 years…

Q.    What does the labor force get when the federal government allows its criminal Wall Street cronies to plunge the national economy into a second Great Depression?

A.    Taxpayers bailed out select industries in the amount of $700,000,000,000 to the Wall Street bankers that crashed the economy and put millions out of work. They get to keep their jobs and receive million dollar bonuses. You get to lose your job and finance their private losses.

Happy Labor Day!


*The PCA is a federal law passed in 1878 that prohibits the federal government’s authority to use the military for domestic law enforcement purposes.

Pullman Strike

Posse Comitatus Act

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


2 Responses to Labor Day

  1. I agree with you on a lot of points Peyton. It reminds me of something my Uncle now has a tattoo of on his arm. He got a vietnam memorial tat, that in symbol represents his journey. He was a medic, and was drafted to war when he 18. On the back of his tat is a crumbled and disgraced bronze star with an explosion coming out of it. When he was getting it I asked him why that symbol. He said I got the bronze star for valor for going in under fire to save my C.O. He teared up. My C.O. died three days later in the hospital I ended up after taking shrapnel. They gave me a star and the C.O. gave his life…that isn’t a good trade. I don’t understand why we think pomp and circumstance, medals and parades equal “making everything ok”

    great writing as always Peyton…very thought provoking.

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