Labor Day Reflections
Labor Day is Monday. How many of us know the origin of this holiday that has come to mean the last hurrah of summer?
The first Labor Day occurred in 1892 as a one-day strike by workers who were protesting long hours and days on the job. The average factory work week in the 1890’s was 60 hours. It was the only way the workers could get the day off!
While most of us relate Labor Day to the Labor Movement and Union organizers, there was also strong support from many business owners for a shorter work week and fewer hours worked per day. Their concern wasn’t necessarily altruistic but practical. If workers had no time off, how could they spend their earnings to stimulate the local economy?
Labor Day became an official holiday in 1894 when Congress passed a bill declaring the holiday to be observed on the first Monday in September. It was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland. Originally, it was only enacted for federal employees. It was up to each state to determine how to recognize its own version of the holiday.
Presently, we celebrate Labor Day with picnics, cookouts and one last long summer weekend. Most kids are usually back in school. Fall really doesn’t start in earnest until after Labor Day. We all get more serious about work as we bid a fond farewell to the more carefree days of summer. Retailers are anxious for us to immediately jump into Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once again, to stimulate the local economy!
As you gather at the beach or the back yard on Labor Day, let’s remember its intent to honor working people. Our office will be closed in honor of the holiday starting Friday, August 31 and will reopen Tuesday morning, September 4, 2018. My staff and I will enjoy celebrating Labor Day Weekend with our families and friends. Wishing you and yours a happy, long Labor Day weekend!