Saturday, September 03, 2016

Labor Day : June 28, 1894

Labor Day is more than the three-day weekend that marks the end of summer. Labor Day is a celebration of the labor force and a grateful nod to the people who made our work lives what they are today. Through the late 1800s, as industrialization began taking the place of agriculture as the nation’s future industry, working conditions were the sacrifice of increased production. Bigger machines and more workers began to fill factories whose walls were not growing any wider. Workers, including children, often toiled through 12-hour days and seven-day weeks for just a dollar or two a day. The working conditions were even more appalling than the hours.

Labor Day became a federal holiday, signed into law by Grover Cleveland on June 28, 1894. Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor and important supporter of the spirit of Labor Day stated "Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess 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."