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History of Labor Day

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Labor Day is a day for rest, and the last chance for many to head to the beach one last time, or to have that end of the Summer barbecue with the family. But what is Labor Day and why do we celebrate it as a day we don’t have to work? The Labor movement in our country has a very important past, and while it is a day that gives us a reason to kick back and enjoy the final days of warm sunshine, it is also a time to reflect on the value of hard work and how it has shaped America.

Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894. President Grover Cleveland officially signed the bill that made this day a holiday, although at that point 30 different states already observed some form of the holiday. The very first nationally recognized Labor Day was celebrated with parades that displayed the strength of labor organizations and day-long festivals. Labor day always falls on the first Monday of September, Central Labor Union observed its first Labor Day in New York City on September 5th 1882 (which interestingly enough fell on a Tuesday).

Throughout the country’s Industrial Revolution, Americans were working on average 12-hour days, seven days a week. So thanks to the relentlessness and courage of our unions, we now enjoy the 40 hour work week, minimum wage, sick leave, workers compensation, and overtime pay, among a host of other rights. That being said the typical 9-5 job does not sound so bad does it.

Lets all have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day, but while you have that late season BBQ, or are hanging out on your favorite beach, lets also remember the hard work that went into us all being able to celebrate the “end of Summer”.

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