Good Monday Morning!
Today’s Coffee comes a little late this morning as we observe Labor Day (by not “Laboring” today :-))
I say this with tongue in cheek because I’m not sure that I (or most “Professional or Service Industry Folks”) “Labor” as defined by the people who originally thunk about the need for a National Holiday for Laborers.
And so I began to wonder about how all this applies to us today. Who are the “Laborers” of today and what’s the derived significance of the day?
For sure, it is clear that the “Manufacturing Sector” of our country has diminished significantly in the past 20ish years . . . We’ve moved towards “Service” and “Professional” . . . The economic down-turn has given rise to a whole slew of “Independent Contractors” and Small Businesses.
There’s no question in my mind that the people of today WORK . . . and even LABOR at eeking out a living. I KNOW this personally as Deb and I work at our Real Estate Sales Profession (as Independent contractors) and I “Labor” at building what I envision to be the quintessential Real Estate Sales Firm in Middle Tennessee – Pareto Realty.
We work and we WORK . . . but how does what we do compare to the folks in the 1880’s (when Labor Day came to be a recognized holiday)?
I wandered over to Wiki and Found This – Labor Day – Where I learned that the national designation of Labor Day was essentially an “Apology” by the Federal Government of their way of handling the Pullman Strike.
Check out these out-takes from what I read (Click the links to read it for yourself)
- Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.
- The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York.
- During the economic panic of 1893, the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages as demands for their train cars plummeted and the company’s revenue dropped. A delegation of workers complained of the low wages and sixteen hour workdays and the company’s failure to decrease rents or the price of goods. Company owner George Pullman “loftily declined to talk with them”
- Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
- The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”