|Early telephone operators often worked ten to twelve hour days for as little as thirty dollars per month. In 1907, Butte operators struck and were granted a minimum wage of fifty dollars per month, an eight-hour workday, and a closed shop. These operators are working in Helena in 1906. Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, PAc 75-43 folder 23|
|This photo by N. A. Forsyth, taken circa 1905, shows the dangerous working conditions in Butte's mines that contributed to labor strikes and unrest. Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, ST 001.168|
While we celebrate the workingman’s holiday today more as a symbol of summer’s end and the start of the school year, we should remember that it was a originally a workingman’s holiday born of national unrest.