Aug 30, 2007
Celebrate Labor Day and unions contribution to the country
With the Republican assault on labor unions and the middle class going full bore and Labor Day just around the corner, it’s as good a time as any to look at what Labor Day really means, what it did for the country and how it came about.
I’m sure for anti-worker types like Leon Drolet, Zarko and the rest of the rightwing bloggers, Labor Day is just another day for a cookout, a telethon and a Labor Day sale at Wal-Mart. But there is no disputing that labor unions and trade organizations created the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known. While picnics and cookouts are part of the holiday, it has certainly lost some of its meaning in the 125 previous Labor Days.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 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. However, there is some dispute over when the first Labor Day actually occurred.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." Others contend the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882. However, it has become accepted that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. As the years passed local town boards and city councils adopted ordinances making Labor Day as an official holiday, and individual states began to follow suit.
By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday, 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.
Here in Michigan there are many activities and events where you can show your support to the people who raised the standard of living for every American and created the middle class. Here are a few events. If you know of any events that I left out, please feel free to add them:
The Michigan Young Democrats are inviting people to march with them in the 2007 Labor Day Parade in Detroit on Monday. The staging begins at 2741 Trumbull at 8 a.m. It is one of the biggest and oldest Labor Day parades in the nation.
In Hamtramck a highlight of the annual city festival will be the dedication of the Dodge Main state historical marker at 11 a.m. Monday at Veterans Memorial Park on Jos. Campau, south of Holbrook in Hamtramck. Dodge Main was one of the largest factories in the world. The annual Polish Day Parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Jos. Campau.
Perhaps Michigan’s signature event, The 50th Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk, begins at 7 a.m.
The Grand Rapids for Edwards Meetup Group will march in the Grand Rapids Labor Day Parade on Monday. will march in the Grand Rapids Labor Day Parade on Monday. People wishing to march should gather between Mt. Vernon and Fulton at 9 a.m. with the parade starting at 10 a.m. Following the parade there will be a party in John Ball Park with food and music. An RSVP is required.
This are just a few events. Please add your event.