I hope your 2013 Labor Day is thoughtful, fun and safe. Here’s the blog post that I wrote last year about Labor Day, and the main points remain true. But keep in mind that many workers’ protections are being eroded by business in pursuit of profit, and nonunionized workers generally fare worse than those who belong to unions. So as you go about your business – whether marching in a Labor Day parade, traveling safely through the last weekend of summer, enjoying quiet time at home, or even working – think about your life situation and reflect on those workers who have gone before to provide a better quality of life for workers today, regardless of job situation. I know I will do just that.
Happy Labor Day! What are your plans? And why do we have this day off of work? Is it to celebrate summer ending and school starting? In Nebraska, it might be to celebrate what is often the first weekend of Husker football and the last weekend of the State Fair.
But are there other reasons? Just like the origins of workers’ compensation, we can attribute the fact that we have a holiday to the American worker.
Sources explain in varying amounts of detail the controversy over who founded Labor Day and how the “workingmen’s holiday” was celebrated on that day. But what isn’t up for debate is that unions and their workers were a very important part of developing Labor Day to celebrate workers’ contributions.
I am pleased to share that the state of Nebraska was actually one of the first to celebrate Labor Day and had passed legislation recognizing the holiday by 1890. Other states that were Labor Day pioneers included Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
There are some romantic notions about how Labor Day came into being, and some sources even gloss over some of the gritty details, but Continue reading