Monday, September 04, 2006

A Holiday For Workers

So, today is Labor Day.

Most of us think of this national holiday as one last stab at summer by having one final outdoor party, trip to the beach, or a lazy afternoon by the pool. True, Labor Day is a holiday for the working person.

In an interview once Samuel Gompers, the founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, stated that Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.

Labor Day celebrates the creation of the labor movement in the United States and the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The Central Labor Union was the first group to plan for a Labor Day celebration on September 5, 1883 in New York City. The idea spread rapidly. By 1894, 23 other state legislatures adopted a holiday for workers, and on June 28, 1894 Congress declared Labor Day a holiday.

So as you go to the store to pick up your steak, package of ground beef, or hot dogs say thanks to all of the many people who toiled to bring you those products as well as all of the other millions of workers across the nation who keep things going.

Happy Labor Day!


Meredith said...

I look forward to sharing these facts with my kids tomorrow! Thanks for teaching a teacher.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I love that quote from Samuel Gompers! I learn so much about history by reading your blog. Thanks for taking the time to do the research to give us an interesting, informative read!

EHT said...

Thanks! I always like teaching about the formation of unions, etc. but now that I no longer teach fifth grade I don't get too. It was an extremely interesting time period in our history.