Take a Tour of Chicago’s Labor History

Chicago is considered by many to be the birthplace of the American labor movement, home to more “Local 1” unions than any other city.

No wonder it’s knows as “the city that works.”

For more than two centuries, that’s exactly what Chicagoans have done. There’s a wealth of labor history here, much of it involving the sacrifice, and even bloodshed, of working men and women.

Here’s just a few of the many landmarks near the Chicago Hilton that would be worth checking out if you or your guests have time:

Hull_HouseHull House Museum
800 S. Halstead St.
1.6 miles from Chicago Hilton

You’ll find two restored original buildings from Chicago’s first settlement house, founded by Jane Addams in 1889. Addams devoted her life to social improvement, the abolishment of sweatshops, and securing the passage of legislation to improve working conditions. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

chicago_muralChicago Labor Mural: The Worker
4859 S. Wabash Ave.
6.2 miles from Chicago Hilton

Depicts the 20th century history of labor-management struggle in Chicago’s meatpacking industry. The mural is located on the south exterior of the former headquarters building of United Packinghouse Workers of America, District 1, now the Charles Hayes Family Investment Center. It was created in 1974 by William Walker, “the father of the Chicago mural movement.”

2haymarketHaymarket Martyrs Monument
900 S. Des Plaines Ave., Forest Park, IL
10.8 miles from Chicago Hilton

The monument, by sculptor Albert Weinert, is located in Forest Home (Waldheim) Cemetery, just south of the Eisenhower Expressway. It marks the graves of seven of the eight Haymarket martyrs and is dedicated to the four men hanged for the Haymarket bombing of May 4, 1886. It depicts a laurel wreath being placed on the brow of the fallen hero, as the figure of Justice advances resolutely toward the future. The cemetery closes at dark.

A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
10406 S. Maryland Ave.
15.6 miles from Chicago Hilton

The privately-run museum was founded in 1995 as a tribute to Pullman porters, whose union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was the first black labor union to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with a major corporation. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters would merge into the Transportation Communications Union, now a sister union of the IAM. Hours are Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more landmarks, see the 2016 IAM Grand Lodge Convention Travel Guide.