Happy Labor Day!

Today, the first day of May, is the day when workers are celebrated in much of the world. Except of course in the United States, where Labor Day started in the first place.

The Haymarket Affair in Chicago in 1886 had paradoxically opposite effects in the U.S. and abroad. The administration of president Grover Cleveland, who was deeply pro-business and anti-union, played down the political significance of that day by deliberately avoiding any reference to early May, settling on the first Monday in September for the American commemoration of Labor Day.

Meanwhile, workers in other countries used the Haymarket Affair as a rallying cry for workers’ rights. Which is why International Workers’ Day is celebrated today in more than eighty nations around the world.

Interestingly, in the last few days our current administration has decided that up to 75 million U.S. workers may no longer qualify for worker benefits. I wonder how many of those workers are going to vote to reelect this president, not ever realizing what has just happened to them.

Grover Cleveland would have been impressed.