“No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance.” –Bill Adelman
On Saturday, June 8th, Quad City Next Up will host a bus trip from Rock Island, Illinois, to Chicago for a Labor History Tour. The tour begins at the site of the Haymarket Affair in 1886 and continues to other locations significant to Labor History including the Haymarket Monument in Waldheim Cemetery which was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1997 – the only cemetery monument to ever receive such a designation.
Saturday, June 8th , 2013, 9 am – 9 pm
Meet us at UA Local 25 Hall (4600 46th Avenue, Rock Island, IL) at 9:00 a.m. We will take a bus to Chicago and begin our tour at Paddy O’Fegan’s (204 N. Halsted St.) at 12:00 p.m. for a drink before departing at 1:00 p.m. The Illinois Labor History Society will be our tour guide.
$20 includes a seat on the bus and a boxed lunch. Please contact Brett Utz to RSVP 309-738-1521 or
firstname.lastname@example.org – Tickets will sell fast so to reserve your seat you must pre-pay –
We will depart from Chicago by 7:00 pm and arrive back at the UA Local 25 Hall by 9:00 pm. This will be a long day, so please dress comfortably and wear walking shoes. You may also bring coolers for the bus ride.
We will travel by bus through some of the world’s greatest labor history sites and drink beer along the way!
The history of the Haymarket Affair is well-known around the world, and in fact is the genesis of May Day or International Labor Day. However, workers in the U.S. remain largely ignorant of the events that led up to the Haymarket Affair and the establishment of an eight-hour work day.
Long before the company now publicly traded as CASE IH, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of farm implements, the company was known as International Harvester, and the precursor to IH was a Chicago company called McCormick Reaper Works. It was here, just two days after the massive May 1st strike for an eight-hour workday that police fired on a group of locked out workers killing two of them. The bloodshed against workers amidst a largely non-violent movement for workers’ rights led to the organization of a rally in Haymarket Square scheduled for May 4th, the following evening.
You can imagine how tense was the atmosphere at the time. A depression which began in 1884 had left 24% of workers unemployed. Wages were cut, and workers were forced to work 10-12 hour daily shifts. Strikes by workers were often violently met from hired armed guards called Pinkertons. The exploitation of immigrant workers led to brutal divisions between native born and newly emigrated Americans. Poverty was rampant, and with the exception of a few faith-based charities, people had little to no assistance to help them survive. There was no minimum wage, no requirements for lunch or other breaks, no minimum work age so often children would be hired to displace their parents. No laws to protect workers from dangerous, deadly working conditions, and no workers compensation for when a worker was injured or killed on the job. So workers started to organize, and the massive 80,000 person strike for an 8 hour work day in Chicago on May 1st was seen as a major threat to the industrial barons at the time that had profited enormously from the lack of workers’ rights.
The combination of these circumstances led to the what is now known as the Haymarket Affair on May 4th. This history and other significant labor history sites will be discussed on the Labor History Tour.
Oh, and did I mention there would be a Bar Crawl in the mix?
To learn more about Haymarket, visit the Illinois Labor History Society at: