by Daniel Downs
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
“The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.”
Today Americans celebrate with the federal arm of union labor policy the one holiday christened with the glory of industrial socialism, but what happened to celebrating capitalism? I don’t know.
Like everyone else, I do know I like paid holidays.
On this day, many but not all workers will enjoy a day of unproductive labor (play and party is hard work) in celebration of the socialist version of productive labor. Slavery to despotic corporations for union wages is likely viewed by most union laborers as probably worth it, especially if they get their Obamacare, large pensions, and paid holidays. Unfortunately for many other Americans, they get to slave away at their service sector jobs helping socialist employees and others enjoy their day of unproductivity.
It’s the American dream, right?
Please remember the poor saps at grocery stores, malls, and restaurants who have to labor on America’s glorious progressive holiday. You might even offer some encouragement to those who are part of the socialist resistance against large service corporationd like Wal-Mart; they are still trying to unionize in order to get union wages and benefits. Who can blame them for wanting something more than low wages.
Okay, you are right. At least they have jobs!
At the end of the day, I still wonder why Americans lack a holiday dedicated to capitalism, the Puritan work ethic, and entrepreneurial prosperity. Is it really vain labor in principle and practice? May I suggest that it is but only when capitalism is divorced from its original moral framework.