When the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages in 1894, 4,000 of its employees went on strike. Claiming that the strike interfered with mail service, about 12,000 Army soldiers were sent in a move that broke the strike, but also resulted in the deaths of 13 strikers. Fearing a backlash from unions across the country, Congress quickly moved to declare Labor Day an official holiday. The Labor Day bill was signed into law six days after the end of the Pullman strike.

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