Today is Labor Day, a national holiday established in 1894 after Chicago Pullman train workers went on strike to protest unfair working conditions and nearly put a halt to railroad traffic across the country.

According to the history.com website, recognizing the contributions of American workers with Labor Day was the culimination of riots and other activities sparked by workers demanding changes in their working conditions. Incidents were recorded as the first Labor Day parade in New York in 1882 when 10,000 of people took unpaid leave to march on City Hall and as the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago that killed both police and workers.

Racine County Eye asked on Facebook what Labor Day means to readers, and here’s what you had to say:

Heather Rayne: This day is to commemorate the sweat tears and blood of those who sacrificed to give us fair and safe labor conditions. It is to celebrate hard working people and those who help keep these laws on the books. Labor Day shows appreciation to the workers who organize for the purpose of providing a better future for all.

Yvonne Erdman: This paid holiday should be taken off of the calendar in Wisconsin since it’s technically a day to celebrate the American labor movement and we are now a right to work state and no longer celebrate the movement. Just my opinion on the day and not an opinion on unions.

Joe Seitz: Labor day is the day to celebrate the movement…so we still do celebrate it. Even though this is a RTW state now, it is important not to forget all that the labor unions have done for us. Things like standardized 40 hour work weeks, overtime pay, FMLA, OSHA, etc to name a few. So RTW or not it should still be celebrated.

Ted Gehrke: To me it’s a day to celebrate all the hard working men and women that built this country.

Scott Hopper: I think it’s a day for unions to need another day off. I’ll agree, its nice to have a day off between the long holiday stretch, but, it shouldn’t be a paid day off. Maybe we can celebrate, workers rights. Like not being fired for just any reason.

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