Monday, September 5, 2011

What is Labor Day?

As some people may know, today's Labor Day. Even though many people don't celebrate it, people tend to enjoy the day off work and kids tend to go into deep depression as their summer ends.  But why is Labor Day "celebrated", and what exactly is it? Don't worry now, no need to sprain your fingers typing it into Google, we've done that for you.

Labor Day is a United States holiday celebrated on the first Monday, every September. The holiday is to celebrate the hard work and contributions of the working class. It's like a pat in the back from Uncle Sam for all the good work you've done. What do you mean you would rather have money?

"Instead of a pay raise, will you accept a handful of high-quality, highly polished pennies?"

The history of Labor Day goes back 129 years ago, back in 1882. The workers in NYC formed a Central Labor Union, and decided to tell their employers to go lick their socks as they took a day off from work in protest. This was the first actual celebration of Labor Day, but it was far from an actual holiday, yet. After that, the first state to make it what it is today, was Oregon in 1887. Smooth move Oregon.

Pictured: Oregon

Seven years after that, thirty states made Labor Day a official state holiday. Shortly after that, it became a national holiday, celebrated by millions of sad little children as their summer comes to a end. The primary reason at the time for the declaration of the national holiday was due to the workers that were killed injured by the U.S. Military during the Pullman Strike. The Pullman Strike was a refusal to work after the workers received another sweet check for million dollars reduction in their pay. It all started with 3,000 workers in Pullman, Illinois that practically brought west Chicago traffic to a halt. The strike eventually climaxed with over 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak refusing to work.

President Grover Cleveland decided to negotiate with the workers to avoid the entire railroad industry being shut down for days on end. The legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday ran passed congress without any problems, and became a official holiday. Before that however, the U.S military went in and broke up the strike, killing 13 strikers, wounding  57, and costing millions of dollars in damages.

"Sorry about injuring and murdering people, have a holiday."

Today, it's celebrated with street parades, festivals, speeches, and relaxation at the beach Not exactly as hardcore as our forefathers, but great nonetheless. Many students use Labor Day as a symbolic end of the summer, since the schools tend to re-open a few days later. Older people that celebrate the rich history of 'football', mark Labor Day as the start of the NFL and college football seasons.

Regardless of how you celebrate Labor Day, it should be celebrated accordingly. It's a holiday celebrating the contributions of the working class. If you celebrate it with a nice chocolate milk and some hash browns in front of your TV, so be it. Nonetheless, Happy Labor Day!(?)