Brief History Of Labor Day

Today we have a day off from work…..and that is about the extent of what Americans know about Labor Day….

Few think about the child labor laws, overtime pay, 8 hour week day or 40 hour work week and so much more…..we can thank unions for much of the benefits that we workers have today.

Where did all this begin?

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Now you, my reader, knows more than most Americans about Labor Day……

Please go now……enjoy your BBQ, the beers, the sports and the family…..IST will return to a full posting schedule tomorrow…..

Live Long With Laughter.

 

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Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)

Hi Dee Ho my loyal readers…..today is Labor Day when the country celebrates our workers and the jobs they do……

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I was an organizer for the IWW……so today I thought I would give my readers a look into this union and its activities for the last 100 years……

The role of Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) in the history of the United States of America.

The Industrial Workers of the World was established in Chicago, in 1905, by members of the socialist-led Western Federation of Miners and other groups opposed to what they saw as “class collaboration” by the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.).

The driving force behind the I.W.W. was William D. Haywood, the leader of the Western Federation of Miners, which had established a reputation for work stoppages in Colorado mines. Joining Haywood at the launch of the I.W.W., which he described as the “first continental congress of the working class,” were Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Daniel De Leon of the Socialist Labor Party. Also present were Mother Jones, the “angel of the miners,” and Lucy Parsons, whose husband had been executed in the Haymarket affair.

Source: Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)

Most Americans have NO idea about the IWW and the important part they played in American Labor……

This may not be my only post today….for I want to spend some time with family…..doing the BBQ thing and a few beers…..but Labor Day is an important day and an important part of our history.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day…..I will be back tomorrow.