May 1st is international workers day and so this week we honor the many unsung heroes of the labor movement.
For the last three years NEXT/NOW has been proud to make its home in Haymarket Square on the fringe of downtown Chicago. Today it is a flourishing commercial neighborhood with boutique businesses and incredible restaurants, but once it was home to an iconic event that shaped the American Labor Movement and became the epicenter in the fight for the 8-hour workday.
Haymarket Square is the section of Randolph Street, between Des Plaines and Halsted that once served as a common market area for the surrounding working class neighborhood. Labor movement organizers sometimes used the square to hold protests and meetings in their fight for an “Eight-hour day with no cut in pay.” In a crescendo moment, a scheduled protest descended into a violent clash with police that ended with a handful of deaths and several dozen men injured. The tragedy marked a boiling over moment in the conflict and many refer to it as a tipping point to the better labor laws that we all enjoy today.
At NEXT/NOW we honor the history of this struggle and are grateful to be housed in such a significant area in Chicago’s storied history.
If you ever have the chance to visit the local monuments erected in remembrance, feel free to stop by and meet us, we’d be happy to share with you our proud view of the square. Write us at [email protected]
Written by: Mark Matthews