Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Men at Work” courtesy of kiikanla

I hope that those of you in the U.S. enjoyed your Labor Day. The holiday has come to signify the “unofficial” end of Summer and to many school children means the return to the classroom. Have you ever stopped to think about how and why the holiday came to be celebrated in the U.S? The original intent was to celebrate a “workingman’s holiday” and achievement of American workers. I originally tried to post this piece yesterday, so the effect is not quite the same, but I thought that I still wanted to post it anyways.

America was in the Industrial Revolution with people working twelve hour days, seven days a week just to make a basic living. The child labor laws that were on the books didn’t seem to have much teeth to them or weren’t regularly enforced. The working conditions in many locations were terribly unsafe and unhealthy. A strike at Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was ended when President Cleveland sent troops, resulting in rioting and bloodshed. The strike helped bring worker’s rights to the public attention.

There is disagreement about who should be credited with founding Labor Day in the U.S. Some people credit Peter J. McGuire who was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a confounder of the American Federation of Labor. While others believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist and later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J. desires the credit for purposing Labor Day.
Oddly enough, the first Labor Day was on a Tuesday, It was held in New York City on September 5, 1882, based on plans of the Central Labor Union. 1884 was the first celebration that occurred on the first Monday in September (as is the current timing). June 28, 1894 Congress passed an Act recognizing the current timing for the holiday.

Hopefully you had a nice holiday and are now in a "Fall state of mind", since it is just around the calendar corner (if your weather isn't already there). Why not take a moment to ponder the origin of the holiday and how things have changed in America, from being a land of farmers, to an industrial giant, to the way things are today. History of Labor Day from the U.S. Department of Labor and Labor Day from History.com were referenced in writing this post. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

Looking ahead I’m planning posts…

· Commemorating our one year anniversary
· 2008 Blog Action Day
· Along with the normal posts that you read here.

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