May Daze


Eight-hour workday? Check! Overtime pay? Check!

Basic benefits? Check!

Distress calls? Well, you may check that too.

* May 1 marked a pagan celebration of the season’s first crop. In 1886, workers across the country held a strike demanding enforcement of an eight-hour workday resolution, established two years earlier by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions. When the police fired at an unarmed crowd at the McCormick Reaper Works Factory, in Chicago, killing four and sending to prison union leaders and anarchists, the modern organized labor movement was born.
Ironically, the day lost most of its significance in the U.S. and its celebrations pale in comparison with May 1 in the rest of the industrialized world.
* Mayday, the distress call, on the other hand, has nothing to do with what’s stated above. The word is an anglicized version of the French m’aidez (help me

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