05 September 2011

Labour Day In The USA

A few facts...

The American Labour Day or Workingman's Holiday is celebrated on the first day of Septembre and is traced to New York City's Union Square on 5 Septembre 1882 mainly to appease city workers after numerous strikes and violent rioting.

It is said that more than 10,000 workers took an unpaid holiday to march in this first Labor Day parade.
Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey were the first states to declare Labour Day as a state holiday for all. President Grover declared that day Labor Day in 1894.

Cost of living in 1880 in the US (if you could afford it):
- One bag of flour $1.80 
- Small measure of potatoes daily at .17 per day = $1.19 
- One quarter pound of tea .38
- One quart of milk .56 
- One pound of cheap coffee .35 
- Three and one half pounds Sugar $1.05 
- One half ration of meats per week $3.50
- Four pounds of butter $1.60 
- Two pounds of lard .38 
- Dried apples for treats .25 
- Vegetables .50 
- Soap, starch, pepper, salt, vinegar, etc. $1.00 
- 2 bushels of coal $1.36 
- Kerosene .30 
- Sundries .28 
- Rent $4.00 week 
Total $18.50

The average worker in 1880 made $16.50 a week and some only 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 dollars a week depending on the trade. Of these, women only earned 60 to 70% of men's wages and working condition were said to be horrible particularly in factories. Imagine a woman receiving 6 cents for each shirt she sewed! On record men driving horse drawn streetcars in the city made about $1.75 working a minimum of 14 to 16 hours a day.

Let's remember today the brave men and women who courageously changed History...

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