Labor Day is a Federal holiday and celebrated on the first Monday in September for both America and Canada. Started back in 1894 it’s origins echo back to the days of the Labor Unions who fought for workers rights, they are famous for their stance on the 8 by 8 by 8, or 8 hours of work, 8 hours of free time, and 8 hours of rest for the typical laborer. The passing of Labor Day usually signifies the end of Summer.
In the late 1800s, we entered a time known as the Industrial Revolution in the United States, at that time the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order make enough money to barely survive. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 years old were put to work in mills, factories and mines across the country, usually earning only a small percentage of the adults they worked beside.
To make matters even worse the poorest of the American workers often faced horrible working conditions, with dimly lit areas, no access to fresh air, no windows, unsafe conditions, and unsanitary bathroom facilities. As more and more Americans moved from the farm life to the manufacturing plants eventually a movement began to rise up and demand better wages and conditions, it was at this time in the 18th century that Labor Unions first appeared and quickly began to flourish. They made a name for themselves by organizing strikes and rallies to protest the unsatisfactory working conditions and force the companies to address the problems.
As you can imagine this was not met with praise from the owner of the factories and plants, many of the early events turned violent. One event came to be known as the Haymarket Riot, during this event in 1886 multiple police officers as well as workers were killed. Another took place in New York when on September 5, 1882 workers from all around totaling over 10,000 strong took unpaid leave and left work to gather together and march from City Hall to Union Square, this march later became known as the first Labor Day parade in America’s history. The movement began catching on across the country and many States passed legislation recognizing Labor Day as a holiday, finally 12 years later Congress finally moved to recognize it as a national holiday.
So what should we do on Labor Day? Well as American’s you have a choice, you can celebrate your day off by going and enjoying the wide array of shopping and dining options in your area, that are made possible by not only capitalism but by the labor of American men and women, you can support them by purchasing their products OR you can join a rising movement to abstain from any shopping or dining at all in order to ensure that the businesses that insist on being open on the holiday requiring their staff to work make no money and decide to close next year due to lack of sales. Of course then there is Amazon:)
Thanks again for taking the time to read one of my articles and I hope you enjoyed it and were able to learn something.
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