by Hank Boerner
Monday, September 5th is Labor Day, 2016. Did you celebrate American labor today? The American worker built this great nation and the day is set aside to remember the men and women of past and present and their contributions to the Making of America.
The origins of the national holiday go back to the 1800s and the beginning of industrialization of the United States economy. The first celebration was in September 1882, organized by labor unions — in New York City.
Cities, then states began to adopt Labor Day legislation. New York State was apparently the first state to consider such a rule; Oregon has the honor of being the first state to adopt the official holiday. After 23 states adopted the holiday, the Federal government declared the first Monday of September to be Labor Day in 1894.
As a young person, I can recall parades of workers — and especially union members, men and women — marching with banners proclaiming their organizations (locals, etc.). No more. We are apparently too jaded for that kind of celebration. And unions are under fire these days; membership is way down from historic levels.
But did you stop today at all to remember — to celebrate – the American working men and women? (That’s pretty much all of us, isn’t it!).
We’ve lost many jobs to outsourcing, downsizing, movement of plants to foreign shores, and more. But we are a resilient people — and American labor is still the most productive in the world, according to some expert sources.
Hope you did. And now it’s back to work!