It was back then when Democrats stood for racism and ideals of KKK, Republicans were liberal party, workers' favorite and business friendly, Republicans were trying to push human rights bill, abolishing segregation, which was just filibustered by the Democratic Senate, all in all not like our times. It was at the turn of 19th century, the conservative agenda of the Northern Democrats held to the fact there is a good reason why some people become rich - they better than the rest.
The government under Grover Cleveland: And since business decisions of the biggest companies are the best for American economy, so a big government should be used to keep worker disruptions of big businesses for the sake of progress.
Opposition, the Republicans: Progress is progress, but didn't Lincoln just abolish slavery? (Don't get me wrong Republicans, just like Democrats were for regulations - free business) Just like boss has an absolute freedom to do in his company as he pleases, so too workers are free to strike or work if they like it. You can still fire them, but if they don't want to show up on the job, using government to force them work would be like slavery, whereas the master used the police to force slaves stay at the place of their work. Two Similar parties with only one disagreement about the treatment of workers.
The Labor: one - the Knights of Labor, also early Labor Unions how do they work? If a worker sees an unfair treatment he may choose to quit, but with big monopolies around, one case of worker quitting is not going to improve the situation. And the alternative job was usually worst than first. If you decide to organize workers into a secret organization, that could give workers simultaneous orders not to show up. So what does that do? To replace a worker it costs company time and money little, but it does, so when a single monopoly having 300,000 employees not showing up for work as much as almost entire company profit this year will go for retraining. Plus one other inconvenience - when replacing entire staff, company is not making profit at all, you can talk about few years of financial difficulties for that company because of massive replacement. So that is how you can force major company into negotiations with workers.
Radical Labor: Communists and Anarchists, action for the sake of action, irritate workers against bosses, hey they even practiced assassinations and terrorist activities against bosses and their wives and children to make the boss listen to even unrealistic demands of that Labor, almost as if you pay pure gold to your employee and you're still not paying enough. Worry about company overpaying workers and goes bankrupt? That's the point. They are not to advance their rights, they there to create as much of crisis in hostile capitalist system as it is enough for people to believe we need radical revolution (an interesting story in an of itself how do radicals and tyrants work), but that is why they radical, right?
I hate to spill this, but although most of the hit men terrorists were German or Slavic, the organizers and masterminds were secular Jews, more than 90% or something. There was even a profile against organizers along those lines - secular (fray) Jew from Eastern Europe etc. Is that antisemitic? you decide. The highest official to be assassinated by such cells was president McKinley, 9/14/01, the plot was in tact - 9/11/01, president died of wounds 9/17/01 yes Arab religious terrorism and Jewish secular is separated by only 100 years.
What follows next are the series of showdowns between all these forces - When republicans were in the white house, they utterly refused to send troops to put the strike down, unless the radicals will start bombing schools where rich children learned or shops or malls where innocent civilians might be killed, or just simply rioting instead of peacefully demonstrating. Even then our president R. Hayes felt guilty about putting Pennsylvania strike down by just parading the federal troops in front of workers, well no shuts were fired but as soon as crowd saw a military "parade" near it, it dispersed. From 1856 until 1894, there was only one Democrat finally elected into office, Grover Cleveland. His views and agenda I described early in his post.
GC reacted the way he knew the best, he sent troops down and ordered to fire the crowds eventually. Pullman strike becomes a massacre for the fist time in history of federal (not local) government.
The reaction was an outrage, so much so that only during his first nonconsecutive term he was going to be one of the best presidents ever elected into office, his second term after 4 year interruption, had him struggling for popularity, and Pullman massacre killed his chances to run for the third term. Radicals and socialists gained the ground with creation of the first registered Socialist Party under E. Debs of Vermont and anarchist under E. Goldman, Communists with multiple people claiming leadership.
As he tried to repent for his mishandling of the strike, he at least gave workers one holiday to commemorate and remember what happened during Pullman and also give hardworking people a day in their honor. But original date for Labor day was supposed to be on May 1st, problem was is that it was international Socialist & radical holiday as well, so to separate American non-socialist labor from socialist, it was agreed upon 1st Monday of September, for actually many reasons - you can guess some of them.
The reason why many of us forgot the real reason for Labor Day, is because as the time went by we usually emphasize on it being back to school, to work from summer hide out day, so the convenient day of this holiday actually gives us what it has to give - forget the "Pullman", enjoy last day of summer, how professionally our governments make us forget what they did to us before!
Have a sweet working year everybody!!!