Printing

On Labor Day, Hug a Union Printer

Great moments in printing history.

Ahh, there's nothing like a four-day week. But did you know that Labor Day got its start thanks to union printers?

It's true.

Way back in 1872. The Toronto Typographical Union went on strike to demand a 9-hour workday and Sundays off. The movement garnered massive public support.

Unfortunately, at the time, unions were still illegal in Canada, and many of the strike organizers were arrested.

It seemed like a grim day for the labor movement. However, the arrests led to tons of protests across Canada, and the Canadian government finally had to agree to abolish its anti-union laws. To celebrate, Canadians began to take a day off for labor union parades.

In 1882, American labor leaders brought the celebration to the U.S., and it stuck (the holiday, at least, if not the celebration of unionized labor).

So there you have it. The beginning of union printing also led to the birth of one of the greatest long weekends of the year.

Is it because of the large role that printing plays in union action that printshops have always been so enthusiastic about unionizing? Lincoln Cushing connects the dots in his great history of the U.S. Labor Movement in posters.

Check it out, and hug a union printer ASAP!


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