If you’re not from the United States (US) you may not be aware of what our holiday this week is all about. People in some other parts of the world may be familiar with the concept of Labor Day, also known as International Workers’ Day or May Day in other countries.
In the US, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September each year. Many Americans view Labor Day as the unofficial end to summer, but it has a much deeper and fascinating history. Truth be told, I’d venture to guess that not too many US citizens (especially younger ones) are even aware of the real reason behind this holiday.
Labor Day would not exist in the US if it were not for the Industrial Revolution from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. The economy transitioned from being based on agriculture to large-scale industry, mechanized manufacturing, and the factory system.
Though the economy boomed, the US workforce, including children as young as five years old, faced dangerous work conditions in factories, railroads, mills, and mines. It was common for workers to have 12 and 18-hour shifts, seven days a week. Children, immigrants, and the poor had little access to fresh water and sanitary facilities.
The first Labor Day took place on September 5th, 1882, when 10,000 workers in NYC took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square to honor the American workforce. Though the specific person who invented Labor Day is debated, these NY bricklayers, jewelers, dressmakers, and tradespeople paraded throughout the city. They celebrated with picnics, speeches, and fireworks.
It is often said that the middle class built this country and that unions built the middle class. On Labor Day, we honor that essential truth and the dedication and dignity of American workers, who continue to power our Nation’s prosperity.
They have built the railways, highways, and waterways that connect us from coast to coast, have forged the look and feel of American cities, and have protected our communities and families as first responders. Organized workers have fundamentally transformed how we live and work in this country — from securing the 8-hour work day and overtime pay to mandating standard safety practices in workplaces and earning better health care, pensions, and other benefits for all workers.
So, there’s a little history lesson for you as the US celebrates Labor Day and honors the energy and innovation of working Americans.
If you want to read more information about this holiday, just click here.
No Tip This Week
Just as with the 4th of July, most of the US celebrates this day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue; many people take advantage of the day off and a long weekend to gather with relatives or friends. Parades are often held in the morning, before family get-togethers followed by fireworks displays in the evening’s dusk.
Needless to say, I expect many people in the US will either still be celebrating or possibly traveling. Either way…while saying goodbye to summer perhaps there won’t be much interest in reading a blog post today 😊
So, please join me next week for the regular Tuesday Tip! And may we all appreciate Vince Lombardi’s sentiments…
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