Labor Day is a national holiday, celebrated the first Monday of every September. Since 1894, it’s been considered a federal holiday, an opportunity for ‘workers’ and their families to take a day for rest and relaxation.
Labor Day evolved from conflicts and negotiations between the federal government and the labor and trade unions of the late 19th century. In one sense, the ‘holiday’ was a means to appeasing the labor unions and their workers by ‘celebrating’ their efforts through public festivals, parades and other social events.
Over the last 100+ years, Labor Day has grown to be symbolic as the ‘last day of summer’ before children headed back to school and families took 3-day vacations.
But what value do most people assign to Labor Day and the Labor Day weekend? Has it become just another marker of time and a reason for retail sales? Does the average Joe or the blue collar worker – or anyone at all – really place a value in the holiday?
Or do people actually take a few moments to consider the importance of the day? Is there a realization that a hundred years ago most work was more physically demanding, that benefits were few, that the long term security of a job was tenuous and uncertain.
Labor Day differs in every essential way from other holidays … all other holidays … are connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day … is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.
– Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor
Hopefully you were able to appreciate the time off, the time possibly spent with family and friends. The next long weekend for most people doesn’t come around until Thanksgiving (unless you can get a day off for Columbus Day of Veteran’s Day)!