- Author: Carol Wirth
How did Labor Day begin? I am not a historian, but I can share a good story I heard on PBS.
While there was a growing movement for a national Labor Day in the late 1800’s, it wasn’t until after a strike in Pullman, Illinois outside of Chicago (home of the Pullman rail cars) that it became official.
Pullman, Illinois was a utopian company town built around the railroad sleeping car company. All of its residents worked at Pullman, banked with Pullman, and paid rent to Pullman, deducted from paychecks. Supposedly, George Pullman founded the town to insulate employees from the “seductions of nearby Chicago.”
Economic depression hit (not the big one yet) and Pullman laid off hundreds of workers and cut pay, while rents stayed the same. This initiated a nationwide strike against railroads carrying Pullman cars. Rioting, picketing, and burning ensued. Railroad executives got nervous, and President Grover Cleveland dispatched troops. In the immediate aftermath of the strike, Congress rushed the Labor Day legislation through and President Cleveland signed it into law.
The Labor Day we now know is nothing like what union leaders envisioned. It signifies the end of summer vacations. Plus it’s a different economy these days when an overwhelming majority of businesses are small to medium sized.
At Glimsity, we tell the stories of small businesses through documentary video. As we’ve always said, if it’s a big business you likely know it already. It’s a natural fit for us because we love telling the stories that don’t get told often through big budget advertising.
One of those stories is how family-owned businesses are passed down successfully through generations.
Shooting interviews, we talk to many family-owned businesses and learn what it takes for the younger generation to carry the torch.
We’re honoring Labor Day our way and initiating a series entitled “Big Shoes to Fill” to recognize the men and women carrying on legacies of a family business or profession and blazing their own trail.
On the first Friday of every month, please look forward to our “Big Shoes to Fill” series.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
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At Glimsity, in our regular work day we talk to a lot of people, collect useful nuggets of information, gather insight and identify trends locally. Lil is an acronym for Local inside look (Lil). At , we want to share the good stuff with you. It’s everything that doesn’t fit into our short videos.