Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
Chicago: City of the Century
The Film and More
Special Features
Do You Know Chicago?
Decades of Immigrants
Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd
Eight Anarchists
Then and Now
Your Kind of Town

Timeline
maps
People and Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Made in Chicago: The eight-hour work day previous 9 of 18 next


The eight-hour work day The labor movement failed in its effort to reduce the average work day from eleven to eight hours at the same pay in 1886. But workers' widespread, vigorous uprisings in that tumultuous year -- centered in Chicago -- made May Day an international workers' holiday, and brought labor's grievances to a worldwide audience.

A strike at the McCormick Reaper Works led to violence at Haymarket Square during an anarchists' demonstration on May 4, 1886. In Haymarket's aftermath, Chicago's business elite clamped down hard, attempting to kill off the eight-hour movement. Still, reformers pressed for workers' rights. In 1893, following her investigation of sweatshop working conditions, Florence Kelley succeeded in convincing Illinois to mandate an eight-hour day for women and children workers, and ban children under 14 from the workforce.

previous | return to introduction | next


Site Navigation

Special Features: Do You Know Chicago? | Decades of Immigrants | Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd | Eight Anarchists | Then and Now | Your Kind of Town

Chicago: City of the Century Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Maps | People and Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search & Site Map | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1999-2003 PBS Online / WGBH