labordayI’m marveling at the evolvement (mutation) of people’s perception of Labor Day.  Here’s how it started, according to Wikipedia:

In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor first proposed it in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada. Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day. Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation’s trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers’ Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers’ Day. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

But what is Labor Day today?

  1. Labor Day is the symbolic end of the summer. Fashionistas feel that it is inappropriate to wear white or seersucker after this holiday, until Easter.
  2. Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.
  3. Most US public school districts that started summer vacation 1-2 weeks into June will resume school the day after Labor Day, although this trend is changing.
  4. It is the second largest retail day of the year, second only to Christmas season’s Black Friday. Retail counts on the Labor Day weekend for big sales, and those employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. Retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States, even though only 3% are members of a Labor union.

What does this mean?

  • Americans still live to work, not work to live. As the world becomes increasingly competitive, achieving a high standard of living is still possible, but not without a high price.
  • Work and play are largely co-mingled, thanks to PDAs. People are unchained from a physical desk, but their work never leaves them.
  • Labor Day is a dated holiday, honoring a time when there was a division of work and play and most workers slaved away in more of a physical endeavor. This is still true and necessary in many jobs, such as construction, farming, and manufacturing industries. However, when Labor Day was created, most workers went off to work as single-income earners. Today, everyone works!


Whoever you may be, throw a steak on the grill and enjoy a beer. You earned it!

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