Why do we have Labor Day? That’s right – the last true BBQ of the season. Oh wait… the last weekend before school starts (at least that’s how it used to be until everyone started going back in August – what’s up with that anyway?). But back to the topic at hand. Do you really know why Labor Day started? I didn’t before I started researching this topic. Hence the need for a blog post. Labor Day started for… 1) a means of unifying union workers and 2) a reduction in work time.
In 1882 this glorious holiday began when unions were new and not as strong as they are today. The goal of the first Labor Day was to bring all workers together to strengthen their interests and well-being. The organizers idea of a day off to unify workers, however, wasn’t recognized by the government or corporate America, which ended up in a one-day strike to ensure it would happen.
At the time and after the Industrial Revolution, many started to feel as if they were spending too many hours and days at work, and less time with family. Our present-day 40-hour work week would have seemed like a dream to workers at the time, who were averaging 60 to 70 hours and 6-7 days a week.
So, it worked! Most hourly employees now work 5 days a week and a 40 hour work week and regulations are in place to make sure they aren’t over-worked and under-paid. There was also another benefit that no one could have predicted – holidays have become a boost for consumerism in America, and are known for sales, deals and a day to shop until you drop (only after consuming the best BBQ you can grill of course).
So hat’s off to you, Labor Day! From all of us at FreshLime to you – enjoy this free day, great food, friends and family, and the fact that you aren’t mandated to work for the majority of awake hours you have to give. Thank goodness for progress!