History of Labor Day

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. (1)

In the 1800s small unions representing workers that were putting in 70 hour work weeks on average, had no leverage of helping this work force create reasonable work days or hours. The first Labor Day was basically many small unions coming together for a day of Strike. Encouraged to march in parades, then eat and drink at a giant picnic afterwards. Shorter work days and a six day a work week, was the end goal.

Today thanks to those efforts many people in the manufacturing work force enjoy 40 + hours a week and a five day work week. Law makers and politicians agreed to the shorter work week as it gave the people time to spend their wages on travel, entertainment or eating out. All for the good of commerce!

Labor Day was not designed as a national holiday but was adopted by President Grover Cleveland in June of 1894. Even then there was and still is controversy on how to spend the day and whom should be taking it off? Unions may still be reaping the benefits, but now many white collar Americans are constantly connected to work.

In the spirit of what was supposed to honor your hard work, give yourselves a break! Take time to connect with family and friends. Shut the phone off, and other electronic devices, take a vacation or a staycation. Celebrate what our fellow Americans worked hard to achieve so many years ago. You deserve it!

Happy Labor Day Everyone.

1. U.S. Department of Labor

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