Most people know Labor Day as an extra day off of work. Fewer know the holiday comes from a time when the government was offing workers.
It all started with a bad recession in the early 1890s that reduced demand for railway cars, prompting Chicago railway magnate George Pullman to lay off workers and reduce wages. Many of his workers went on strike. The sympathetic American Railway Union refused to handle Pullman cars, hampering commerce in many parts of the country.
"The boycott tapped the deep and pervasive alienation of labor in general," historian David Ray Papke wrote in his 1999 book The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America.