Here's a little bit of US history regarding Labor Day and the labor movement:
|This poster by Chris Stain commemorates the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, another incident in which a strike became an actual armed rebellion. West Virginia coal miners were particularly oppressed by the "company town" system in which the coal mining company literally owned the town in which its employees and their families lived: the houses, land, and businesses. Workers were paid in company scrip rather than US currency which was good only at company stores, which took advantage of the captive customer base by hiking up prices. Coal miners and their families often became indebted to the company through the system, unable to leave the company town either because they were indebted or because they had no money to use in the outside world. So striking coal miners were particularly at risk. Baldwin-Felts agents, similar to Pinkerton detectives, were brought in to beat strikers and evict families from their homes. A coal company lawyer explained, “It is like a servant lives at your house. If the servant leaves your employment, if you discharge him, you ask him to get out of the servants’ quarters. It is a question of master and servant.” When Baldwin-Felts agents murdered the police chief of the town, a former laborer who was sympathetic to the miners, an armed rebellion of over 13,000 people ensued, known as the Battle of Blair Mountain or sometimes the "Redneck War."|
Wikipedia has put together a nice timeline of labor history from the 1700s up to the 1980s. Enjoy!