While COVID-19 can take away several events, the pandemic cannot take away a Holiday honoring the working class.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contribution workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.
Labor Day 2020 will occur Monday, Sept. 7. Labor Day is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans and is celebrated with parties, street parades. However, the 2020 Labor Day will not see parades and most of the country hopes no parties for fear of the spread of COVID.
According to History.com, Labor Day originated during one of America’s labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as five or six toiled in mills, factories, and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.
As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay.
In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.
The Farmer’s Almanac (Almanac.com) states that although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished throughout the years, the holiday has become the last hurrah of summer—with a barbecue and day off work for many Americans. And even though the American workforce has changed dramatically since the industrial revolution, many Americans still work more hours and take less vacation than our western counterparts. We are constantly connected to our jobs with little respite; we all desire a good standard of living.
So, whether you work on the farm, at the plant, in the office or at a home business, we hope that you will take that day of honor, find some work/life balance, and reflect on your good work. After all, our work is where we spend the majority of our time! Also, take a moment to reflect on this history and the many American workers who came before us—to build our railways, roads, infrastructure, and more.
Do you get weekends off work? Lunch breaks? Paid vacation? An eight-hour work day? Social security? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you can thank labor unions and the U.S. labor movement for it. Years of hard-fought battles (and the ensuing legislation they inspired) resulted in many of the most basic benefits we enjoy at our jobs today. Nationaltoday.com
Top U.S. health officials Adm. Brett Giroir and Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned this week that a safe Labor Day holiday will be key for controlling the virus’ spread this fall. (CNBC.com) If the U.S. wants to control the coronavirus this fall, it needs to start with the upcoming Labor Day weekend, top U.S. health officials are warning. “Labor Day is coming up, and we need to stress personal responsibility,” Adm. Brett Giroir, director of the U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing. assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “We have to go into the fall with decreasing cases like we’re doing now. We can’t risk a lack of personal responsibility.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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