Labor Day

    By Kelly Maue

    Enjoy a parade or picnic.

    Shop the sales.

    Get in one last splash before the public pools close.  

    And, of course, fire up the grill (because barbecue is almost mandatory!)

    Whatever your pleasure, Labor Day weekend is upon us.

    The first Monday of September signals the end of summer while honoring the U.S. labor movement. Dating back to the 19th century, Labor Day is a federal holiday designed to celebrate the achievements of American workers. 

    During the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, it was common for American workers to labor 12-hour days, seven days a week. Conditions were incredibly unsafe for immigrants, the poor, and other vulnerable populations. Even very young children fell victim to work in dangerous settings – including factories, mills, and mines.  

    But as manufacturing jobs increased, labor unions grew in power and number. And they began to find their voice. By protesting unsafe working conditions, labor unions helped negotiate better wages, shorter workdays, and the federal holiday known as Labor Day.  

    There were milestones along the way. In 1882, a tradition was born after 10,000 workers took unpaid time off and marched through the streets of New York City. This became known as the first-ever Labor Day parade. 

    At this time, the idea of a holiday to recognize the working class was gaining momentum. While New York was the first state to introduce legislation, Oregon was the first to adopt it. Support only grew until 30 states celebrated Labor Day. 

    In 1894, it became a national holiday under President Grover Cleveland. One reason he signed it into law was to help ease tensions with workers. However, the Labor Day holiday legislation had broad support. Politicians and business owners knew workers needed a day off to spend their wages on goods, traveling, dining out, and entertainment. And it continues to be a big spending day, with great deals on tech, seasonal items, and more.

    So, are you planning on shopping the sales? Or grilling and chilling? 
    Or are you watching sports – from the U.S. Open to the NFL? 

    No matter what you have planned, be sure to keep one thing in mind:  

    If possible, take the day from work! Enjoy your Labor Day.