The struggle to have eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest was the origin of International Workers' Day, which is also referred to as May Day or Labor Day. The celebration commemorates the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when Chicago police shoot workers who were striking to establish the eight hour day. Many workers died in the event.
Historically, the first congress of the Second International, which was an organization of socialist and labor parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. In 1891, the Second International recognized May Day as an annual event. In 1904, Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries were called on to demonstrate actively on May First to establish eight hours of work a day and to get workers rights. Unions of all countries were urged to go on strike on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers.
Most countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1st, except in the United States and Canada, where Labor Day is held in September. Millions of working people and their labor unions, all over the world, organize street demonstrations and street marches. Several countries celebrate the day with parades, shows and other patriotic and labor-oriented events. Governments are urged to readjust salaries and wages and to acknowledge workers rights to strike and hold unions.