Monday, September 3, 2007

If You're Celebrating Labor Today, Thank Your Unions!

Today is Labor Day. A United States federal holiday that began in 1894, originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the "working man". It is still celebrated mainly as a day of rest and partying and marks the symbolic end of summer for many. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school.

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's machismo over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation." It was created by the workers...for the workers. Take that to the bank.

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

By the way, remember the old custom of wearing white after Labor Day? This custom is fading from popularity as it continues to be questioned and challenged, particularly by leaders in the fashion world. "Fashion magazines are jumping on this growing trend, calling people who 'dare' to wear white after Labor Day innovative, creative, and bold. In the world of western attire, it is similarly tradition to wear a straw cowboy hat until Labor Day. After Labor Day, the felt hat is worn until Memorial Day." Yippee-Ki-Yi-Yay!

Today, as you're eating your fifth hamburger, downing down that huge helping of beans and potato salad and decide to let that big fart blow in the wind, give thanks to the labor unions that are out there protecting workers rights, wages and safety. This holiday 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 contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country! Be proud America.

So the next time you bitch about Unions, think about today. Sure as hell beats workin', don't it?