Union members and others gathered Tuesday in Chicago to participate in International Workers Day, also known as May Day. May 1 is the commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886. On that date, an explosive device was thrown at police as workers were demonstrating for an eight-hour work day. Police opened fire killing demonstrators as well as fellow officers.
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Union leaders such as Bob Reiter, secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor, say what happened in 1886 solidified the efforts of unions across the country and the world for better treatment of workers. “What May Day is, it is symbolic of workers’ struggles, and you have to not give up when you’re advocating for rights in the workplace,” Reiter said. About 250 people gathered at the Haymarket memorial near downtown Chicago to remember the massacre and to call on large non-union companies to treat workers fairly.