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May Day - The International Labor Day - The History - When is May Day

May Day or International Labor Day
The origin of May Day is indissolubly bound up with the struggle for the shorter workday – a demand of major political significance for the working class. May 1st, International Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in most countries. This struggle is manifest almost from the beginning of the factory system in the United States. Although the demand for higher wages appears to be the most prevalent cause for the early strikes in this country, the question of shorter hours and the right to organize were always kept in the foreground when workers formulated their demands against the bosses and the government. As exploitation was becoming intensified and workers were feeling more and more the strain of inhumanly long working hours, the demand for an appreciable reduction of hours became more pronounced.

The History of The Workers Day
 The struggle for the eight-hour day began in the 1860s. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, organized in 1881 (and changing its name in 1886 to American Federation of Labor) passed a resolution which asserted that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout this district that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution". The following year the Federation repeated the declaration that an eight-hour system was to go into effect on May 1, 1886. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly. In the months prior to May 1, 1886, thousands of workers, organized and unorganized, members of the organization Knights of Labor and of the federation, were drawn into the struggle. Chicago was the main center of the agitation for a shorter day. The anarchists were in the forefront of the Central Labor Union of Chicago, which consisted of 22 unions in 1886, among them the seven largest in the city.

During the Railroad strikes of 1877, the workers had been violently attacked by the police and the United States Army. A similar tactic of state terrorism was prepared by the bureaucracy to fight the eight-hour movement. The police and National Guard were increased in size and received new and powerful weapons financed by local business leaders. Chicago's Commercial Club purchased a $2000 machine gun for the Illinois National Guard to be used against strikers. Nevertheless, by May 1st, the movement had already won gains for many Chicago workers. But on May 3, 1886, police fired into a crowd of strikers at the McCormick Harvester Machine Company, killing at least one striker, seriously wounding five or six others, and injuring an undetermined number. Anarchists called for a mass meeting the next day in Hypermarket Square to protest the brutality.

After having the way of this struggle, May 1, 1990 at last May Day became internationalized by the United States. And now the day marks the 1886 Hypermarket Affair in Chicago, where police shot and killed several demonstrators who were fighting for the eight-hour workday. Over the next several years, people across the globe began demonstrating on May 1, and in many countries the day became an official holiday.

When is May Day
May Day is observed on the first day in May. The actual May 1st dates for 2012 - 2016 are listed below.
May Calendar for May Day

Year
May Day
2012
Tuesday, May 1

2013
Wednesday, May 1

2014
Thursday, May 1

2015
Friday, May 1

2016
Sunday, May 1

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