Monday, September 5, 2011

No Labor Today!

Thought for the day:  Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.   Douglas Pagels

YUP, it's Labor Day, which of course, means we don't wanta do any labor, so this will be a short post today. Figured I'd just tell you a few things about this holiday that you may not know, and then go prepare to be a lazy slob lady of leisure for the rest of the day.

This holiday, a celebration of the American worker, has its roots in unions and labor organizations, and initially, was observed with parades and marches in support of various unions, and workers' rights. The first Labor Day observation is believed to have been a New York City parade held on September 5, 1882, under the leadership of Peter McGuire, an Irish-American cabinet maker and pioneer unionist. At that time, most workers put in twelves hours every day, and the parade was in support of establishing an 8-hour workday.

Oregon was the first state to pass an official Labor Day law, in 1887, but the Feds were a little slower, and didn't enact a law establishing the day as a Federal Holiday until 1894. Earlier that year, President Grover Cleveland, who was rather anti-union, sent troops into Chicago to "take control" of an American Railway Union strike at the Pullman Company. As a result, thirty-four workers died. Shortly thereafter, Congress passed legislation to establish the holiday, and Cleveland signed the bill in a hasty effort to mitigate the fallout from the fiasco in Chicago.

An interesting tidbit: the first labor strike held in the U.S. was all the way back in 1636, when a group of Maine fishermen refused to work after the owner of the boats failed to pay them.

Canadians also celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September . . .  only they call it "Labour" Day.

Some other countries, like Australia, celebrate the holiday on the first day of May.

Since the number of union members is down considerably from what it once once,  Labor Day is no longer marked by marches,  parades, and protests, as it once was. Now, it's more or less morphed into a one last blow-out celebration of summer. Cook-outs, BBQs, and relaxation, with a handful of political speeches thrown into the mix.

One thing Labor Day . . .  or Labour Day . . . ISN'T is a day to labor. So enjoy your holiday, everyone.

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?  Edgar Bergen


  1. Those darn Canadians, they just can't spell.
    Funny, labour day was when we traditionally did up all the yard work and put away all the lawn furniture. Worked like dogs we did. Now that we are retired we wait a bit longer for the big cleanup.
    Enjoy your day and your rest from "labour".

  2. Hope you're having a great Labour Day. We don't have this in the UK but last Monday was a Summer Bank Holiday when we didn't work either.

    I love your thoughts at the beginning of each post and now I have to decide which colour to slide down... decisions! decisions! Thanks for popping by my blog by the way :-)

  3. Great minds think alike. Enjoy your holiday! No labor allowed. :)

  4. You did not mention the real reason for Labor Day, which, of course, is Labor Day Sales. I will be un-American today and labor in my home, instead of going out to buy that "only one day" sale item that they are telling me I need to have. I have a feeling I will be able to get in on Columbus Day.

  5. Oh to slide down a rainbow. What a treat. Enjoy your labour day or rest and relaxation!

    Thank you for dropping by my blog and commenting. Hope you are still enjoying the BBQ. Take care.

  6. Hi-ya, Delores. I was thinking about you when I wrote that. Hope you have a super day, no matter how you spell it.

    Hi, Rosalind. Thanks for stopping by. A day off is a good one, no matter what they want to call it. I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

    Hi, Linda. You betcha. Have a loverly day.

    Hi, Starting Over. HA! You've got a point there. Since I'm not a big fan of shopping and wrangling with other people to grab that last whatchamacallit to save a couple bucks, it never crossed my mind. (Sounds like one of Dante's levels of hell to me.)

    Hi, Ann. Maybe we'll even find a wee man in green and a pot of gold when we get there. Thanks for stopping by, dear lady.

  7. Yes, great minds do think alike! I wasn't surprised to see that you, too, researched why we have this holiday! I'm glad to know some of our readers will learn it has nothing to do with retail shopping. :D

  8. Hi, Dianne. Once a teacher, always a teacher, eh? I hope you have a super day.

  9. Good trivia Susan. I especially like the part about the first labor strike.

    We are just going to hang out and watch the rain today. It is nice to have an extra day home with the family. :)

  10. Enjoy the day off. We have beautiful weather here. Good day for lazing. :)

  11. New follower here. Happy Labor Day and hope you enjoy relaxing! :D

  12. Love learning little tidbits like this that led to why we celebrate the way we do today! Nice to 'meet' you! Here from KarenG's BBQ:)

  13. I, too, love the factoids. I forgot Labor Day was coming up last week and watched a fascinating documentary about seamstresses at a Victorian-era factory in NYC getting the smack laid on them (by the cops and everything) for daring to strike, and then subsequently dying because of their strike demands(safety) being ignored. Easy to forget the history in the modern era, so the facts are a good reminder!

  14. I wonder if the unions and the protests and the hoo-rah will be coming back once people figure out where all the money went. I hope so--an evil sometimes, but a very necessary one. And times are not good.

  15. Hi-ya, Skippy. Good to hear from you again. Yeah, I thought that info about the first strike was pretty neat, too. I had no idea it occurred so early in our history.

    Hi, L.G. We had a delightful Labor Day. Had a bit of drizzly rain, which we desperately needed. Today, it's cool enough to have the windows open. Woo HOO! I am SO ready to tell summer goodbye!

    Hi, Shelley. Welcome aboard, dear lady. For relaxation I (ahem) "let" my husband kick my derriere on the pool table.

    Hi, C.Q. Nice to meet you, and thanks for visiting. I love those little tidbits. (I have a brain filled with utterly useless information.)

    Hi, Amalie. I missed that documentary. Sounds like it was a good one.

    Hi, Murr. What an unusual name! No telling what direction unions will be going nowadays. If some politicians have their way, they'll become a thing of the past, I'm afraid.

  16. I didn't do any labor yesterday either...or over the entire weekend for that matter! And now my house looks like it! lol....back to vacuuming....

  17. Susan, There's so much I don't know. I didn't know the origin of Labor Day..... I never gave it a minutes thought. How can I go through life, accepting a holiday and never knowing the origin. Thank you. And it comes together... Delores who is Canadian wrote Labor Day in her post and said she was using the American spelling. Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

  18. Actually in Oz Labour day varies from state to state.
    In most it is around May 1. But in some it was shifted to October from the 1950s because "Mayday" was "too Communist".

  19. Hi, Betsy. I have a feeling, in you house, Mama keeps pretty doggone busy, no matter what the calendar says. Glad to hear you had an "easier" weekend.

    Hi, Manzie. Yup, the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I don't know.

    Hi, Al. Thanks for the info. I really do appreciate the update about Labour Day in your country. I'd assumed it was a country-wide set date. (Just goes to show ya what they say about ASS-u-ME!) Take care.