American Labor Day is the last of the summer time holidays traditionally marked by parades and barbeques. Labor Day is the start of the official NFL season and the time students are preparing to return to school. Labor Day became a Federal holiday in 1894 and every state in the Union recognizes the holiday.
Origins of Labor Day
The Federal holiday of Labor Day is an aftermath of the Pullman strike of 1894. The Pullman strike was a labor battle between the Pullman Palace Car Company and the American Railway Union. The strike was widespread, involved hundreds of thousands of workers and was marred with violence. President Cleveland ordered US Marshals and the US Army to break the strike; about a dozen strikers were killed and more wounded by Federal forces. Following the strike a number of famous court cases ensued.
President Cleveland and Congress in an attempt to heal the wounds caused by the strike established the Federal holiday of Labor Day in 1894.
Significance of Labor Day
Labor Day honors those workers from the Industrial Revolution who fought for fair wages and decent working conditions. The early unions were pitted against powerful companies that profited from the efforts of the workers but often showed little concern for their welfare.
As a result of the labor movement, the United States has standards regarding employment and work place safety; the Department of Labor was established by the Federal Government in 1913. Union members and non-union workers have benefited from the efforts of the labor movement.
Today most companies and unions bargain contracts in good faith; grievance procedures and arbitration rules are usually followed to resolve disputes.
Corporations and workers have both gained from adhering to sound labor policies.
Today’s American Worker
The American worker is an anonymous hero and has always been the backbone of a strong Nation. Overwhelming they show up at work regularly to do an excellent job in producing the good and services to keep America vibrant. These hard working folks pay the taxes that fund the government and their efforts help keep our military strong. The American worker includes our homemakers and volunteers; their works and labors are vital society.
Honest work gives people a sense of pride and self sufficiency. It is easy to overlook on how reliant we are on the labors of others.
As I am writing this article I have reflected on the efforts of others enabling me to do so. My computer was designed, manufactured, transported and sold by others; in fact, before my computer was made workers built a factory and gathered the raw materials. I am on the Internet and the communication system was developed and is being maintained by others; my research sources were written and documented by others. I am at home in a dwelling that was designed and built by others. The electric power is running the computer, lights, refrigerator, and air conditioner. The power company has workers monitoring and maintaining the system, workers built the power plant and power lines; a fuel source was provided to the power company.
I am planning to go shopping later; I will get in my car, drive to the supermarket and make my purchases. My car was built by others, the food I will buy was farmed by others, the products were transported to the store by others and I will be serviced by workers and cashiers at the store. In fact, the money I will use was printed and coined by others. The benefits derived from the efforts of others is and endless mesh.
Celebrate Labor Day, pat yourself on the back for the work you do and be grateful for the honest efforts of others.