What Does Labor Day Really Mean?
Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. This has become known to many of us as the unofficial mark to the end of Summer, Back To School sales, the beginning of Football season or a time to pack away our white clothes and shoes (not to be worn after Labor Day).
However, we choose to honor Labor Day. Whether attending a local parade, a music festival, a picnic at the beach or in the backyard in front of a grill with friends, family or neighbors, we need to take a moment to honor why we celebrate it.
While many of us studied the origin of Labor Day in our American history classes, we need to remember that the origin of this holiday was one of suffering and discord. It was started in the late 1800s as part of the Labor movement’s hard work to bring fairness to the workforce.
With 12-hour shifts and 7-day work weeks being a common practice, an even more critical concern was that children as young as the age of 5 would be put in factories, mills and mines, even though laws and restrictions were in place to limit child labor. In many of these environments, workers were denied meaningful breaks, days off or the opportunity to breathe fresh air.
First Labor Day
Strikes, protests and rallies were held, including the infamous Haymarket Riot in Chicago, where many workers and police officers were killed. The first Labor Day parade held on September 5, 1882, in New York City is described in this article by the U.S. Department of Labor titled Labor Daze.
In today’s business culture, work/life balance is used daily, and we find ourselves using Labor Day to talk more about employee appreciation, honoring accomplishments and company picnics. We work to make this a time to focus on team building and bonding. We’ve come a long way since our grandparents and great-grandparents fought a difficult fight for us so our work lives could be more meaningful. Here are some fun facts about Labor Day.
Take A Moment To Be Grateful
However, if you choose to celebrate Labor Day this year, take a moment to be grateful for those that impacted this holiday and made it possible for us to enjoy.