Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. If you aren't familiar with its origin and history, here's a primer.

The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise.

On the first Labor Day parade: [More...]

On September 5, 1882 the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City. Twenty thousand workers marched in a parade up Broadway. They carried banners that read "LABOR CREATES ALL WEALTH," and "EIGHT HOURS FOR WORK, EIGHT HOURS FOR REST, EIGHT HOURS FOR RECREATION!" After the parade there were picnics all around the city. Workers and celebrants ate Irish stew, homemade bread and apple pie. At night, fireworks were set off. Within the next few years, the idea spread from coast to coast, and all states celebrated Labor Day. In 1894, Congress voted it a federal holiday.

And then there's the story of Joe Hill.

And for a song: The Rolling Stones (with Axl Rose), Salt of the Earth

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  • Display: Sort:
    Wasn't it created ... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:28:12 AM EST
    to decrease May Day celebrations in the U.S.?

    Celebrating May Day as the International Worker's Holiday had gained significant traction in the U.S. after the Haymarket Affair in 1886.

    For Some of Us (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by john horse on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 01:11:16 PM EST
    May Day is the true Labor day.

    Here is an old IWW story some of you may enjoy about How the *sshole Became the Boss.  

    I'm celebrating by reading about Clarence Darrow (none / 0) (#2)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 06:57:17 AM EST
    Right now, the "Attorney for the Damned" is defending Thomas Kidd against the charge of criminal conspiracy for working to organize the Woodworkers' Union in Detroit in 1898.  Darrow won.

    The summation I'm reading now -- given over two days without notes -- is beautiful.  It sets out in simple yet persuasive words the rights of the individual against the State (or, in this case, the State acting as a puppet for a rich factory owner).

    Here's another read for you (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:28:29 AM EST
    on Darrow, Kidd, and another strike in 1898 -- a great story that Oshkosh, Wisconsin, city fathers still tried to suppress a century later:  "'The Very Picture of Anarchy.'"   So the author, a fine and feisty scholar, made it into a play performed in the town plus a book, too.  

    I found the perfect set of lyrics for today (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:06:37 AM EST
    And I thought I heard "The Working Man's Blues"
    I went to work that night and wasted my breath
    Outside they're painting tar on somebody
    It's the closest to a work of art that they will ever be

    A deleted comment for anyone who can guess the songwriter.

    from Elvis Costello's Suit of Lights (none / 0) (#4)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:31:04 AM EST
    Here's my Labor Day Selection.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:41:55 AM EST
    Amen..... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:24:56 AM EST
    I really can't imagine how much harder life would be for me and millions of others without the blood, sweat, and tears spilled by the 20th century labor movement.

    A friend of mine had an accident on the job just last week, got his hand crushed in a compressor pretty bad.  His family will eat while he recovers thanks to the labor movement.  He's a Republican, and I busted his chops this weekend about how if his Republican buddies had their way, the day he came back to the garage with a mangled hand he woulda got a pink slip to go with it.

    Part of My Job Once (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by daring grace on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 01:13:51 PM EST
    was education on local labor/industry issues in my community which was a huge early participant in the Industrial Revolution.

    I came to feel and have since tried to tell people how overlooked labor organizers and union members are as Americans who 'sacrificed for their country.'

    Taking nothing away from the men and women in the armed services, but it's very sad to me how few of us stop and think about and really understand how many people suffered, sacrificed (and yes, even died sometimes) so that we could have the employment rights and protections we have today.


    And (none / 0) (#12)
    by tek on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:14:55 AM EST
    now Congress and the WH are trying to destroy unions by bringing millions of illegal workers into the U. S. to undercut union wages.

    Wealth is.... created? (none / 0) (#13)
    by TSOL on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:21:04 AM EST
    "They carried banners that read "LABOR CREATES ALL WEALTH,"'

    Surely not. I thought wealth could only be stolen, not created!