The Labor Day celebration is here again; a day that is unconventionally dedicated to, enjoying a family barbecue, attending music festivals, and making some quick retail sales. Realistically, the day was not conjured to represent any of these fallacies though. Most people in recent times are indifferent about its significance but only see it as an opportunity to enjoy a long, three-day weekend in September.
In reality, the purpose of the celebration has been entirely severed from its roots, and most of the workers that fought for this more than a century ago still have not enjoyed the fruit of their struggle. There are a lot of gains and lessons we can learn from the origin, declaration, and enactment of Labor Day.
Labor Day is an official holiday declared by the United States government to hold annually on the first Monday in September for celebrating the contributions of workers, and labor leaders to the development of the country.
It all began in the late-1800s with the rise of manufacturing companies in the United States termed the “Industrial Revolution.” A lot of workers — including underprivileged children — were made to work overtime in mills, factories, and mines before they could earn a living. A lot of these workers, particularly the poor and the immigrants, were often exposed to poor working conditions, inadequate access to quality air, and even meals.
As production soared up and more laborers were hired, labor unions started rising and grew more noticeable — and vocal. They started planning demonstrations and rallies to protest against the dilapidated system, advising workers to renegotiate their contracts and pay. The relevance of these unions continued to grow stronger, leading to them proposing a date to celebrate the labor force. The Labor Day idea met a few blockades at first; however, with more pressure by organizing parades and defiance in major cities across the country, it became a reality.
In 1887, the State of Oregon became the first state to officially accept Labor Day as a public holiday, while it became an official federal holiday in 1894.
As the holiday is still celebrated in a few cities with parades and speeches, most cities have characterized the period as the precursor and conclusion of other circumstances: For them, it is the ‘unofficial’ end of summer and hot dog season. It also concise with the start of the NFL season – and in fashion, the end of wearing white pants and shoes but the start of dark ones.
May you and yours have a safe and happy Labor Day this year!
Anvil photo by j.mt_photography from Pexels