Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Labor Day.. Why It Came To Be and How I Feel About It

I've been a little curious what was so important about celebrating Labor Day, which to me is just another worthless 'holiday' so I looked it up to see just why Labor Day became a holiday. Here's what I found:

"Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 5 in 2011).

The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York[1] It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.

The form for the celebration of Labor Day 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," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil 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 holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties."   
                               --The above sections were "borrowed" from

Now notice the last part talks about a day of rest and parties. Well, I hate to break it to them, but it's a stupid holiday. How many people REALLY get to use Labor Day as a day of rest or to throw a party? Not many. I mean I have to work on Labor Day and so do a lot of people example of one: Walmart employees

Now the start, as I see, is this Pullman Strike, which I have also taken the time to look up via

"The Pullman Strike: Perhaps the most violent and most famous railroad related strike,the Pullman Strike was a nationwide conflict between labor unions and railroads that occurred in the United States in 1894. The conflict began in the town of Pullman, Illinois on May 11 when approximately 3,000 employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent reductions in wages, bringing traffic west of Chicago to a halt.[1] The American Railway Union, the nation's first industry-wide union, led by Eugene V. Debs, subsequently became embroiled in what The New York Times described as "a struggle between the greatest and most important labor organization and the entire railroad capital" that involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak. ....  The strike was broken up by United States Marshals and some 12,000 United States Army troops, commanded by Nelson Miles, sent in by President Grover Cleveland on the premise that the strike interfered with the delivery of U.S. Mail, violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and represented a threat to public safety. The arrival of the military and subsequent deaths of workers led to further outbreaks of violence. During the course of the strike, 13 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. An estimated 6,000 rail workers did $340,000 worth of property damage (about $8,818,000 in 2010 dollars)."

Clearly I skipped over some of the information, but you know why it started and how it ended. Now I'm sorry these people got 'pay cuts', went on strike, died, and did so much damage, but so far none of this is giving good enough grounds for it to be a holiday. We have enough holidays that most people don't really even get to celebrate. Lets focus on the big holidays, the important ones like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and 4th of July. I know a lot of places don't even close for these holidays. People are forced to work on these days that they should be spending with their loved ones. 

I can't believe someone would be such a.. well, Ebenezer Scrooge, that they would take away someone's holiday, someone's chance to spend time with their family. Life. Is. Short. So spend time with the ones you love. Don't let work and house chores keep you from missing out on the great memories that you could be making. Money is something that we need to survive, but seriously you can't take it with you when you die so don't let it rule your life. 

Hope this taught you something that you didn't already know and that it might be helpful to you. Have a great day!

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