Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day

Today, on Labor Day, we realize that summer is coming to an unofficial close, but the day also marks much more than that in terms of the many contributions the American workforce has made to our nation, its economy ,and its quality of life. This is a good time to reflect on just how today’s holiday came into being.
Labor Day traces its roots back to organized labor’s struggles with the eight hour work day and its efforts to increase wages while reducing workday hours.

In the late 1886, an incident known as the Haymarket Affair occurred when Chicago police killed many demonstrators after a bomb was thrown at them.  Then in 1890, railway magnate George Pullman laid off workers and reduced wages of workers as demand for railway service had declined. In retaliation, the American Railway Union refused to supply trains, creating a halt to commerce across the entire country as workers went on strike. A month later, Congress passed legislation making the first Monday of September a day to recognize workers.
Certainly Labor Day is an important opportunity to gather with family and friends, and to reflect on the days of summer and the experiences they have brought. But it is also a day to remember the hard work, sacrifice and persistence that have always characterized an American workforce that has given us strength and prosperity. Hopefully we will also take a moment to thank
and remember the many members of our armed services and their families who are marking this day in service to our nation.