Labor Day

It’s Labor Day weekend.  A weekend where we celebrate the last hurrah of summer with one last cookout, one last trip to the lake, one last trip to the beach, etc.  Most of us have the weekend off and are going to enjoy it by relaxing and ignoring our work emails/calls until Tuesday.  Yep, it’s a weekend to relax and kick back.  What is Labor Day though?  Is it just one of those made up holidays to give us a break? Or is it a way to celebrate the end of summer?  Can we really not wear white after Labor Day?  Here’s some fun facts about Labor Day that you may not know including where Labor Day came from and how it was celebrated.

How Did Labor Day Start?

The Labor Day holiday came about in the late 19th century through the organized labor movement and the day quickly became a holiday as the labor movement gained more prominence in society.  In 1882, the unions of New York city decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions and to show support for all unions.  It’s believed that there were approximately 20,000 people in attendance, but the worker’s had to give up a day’s pay to attend the festivities.  By 1887, the parades and union celebrations had moved outside of NYC and into other areas such as Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Colorado.  In those states, the day was made into a state holiday.  Unfortunately, Labor Day isn’t without tragedy.  On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded in Chicago’s Haymarket Square which in turn led to violence that claims the lives of 7 police officers and 4 civilians.  The incident led to May 1 being recognized as Worker’s Day, but the U.S. government wanted to avoid a celebration on May 1 so it was decided to create the first Monday in September to become the Labor Day holiday.

Fun Facts

  • Is it really true that you can’t wear white after Labor Day?  Well, according to tradition that began in the late Victoria era it was considered a fashion faux paus to wear anything white after summer ended which was considered to be Labor Day.  According to fashion blogs, white indicates that you are still in vacation mode at ‘the summer cottage’ which is why it was considered inappropriate to wear white after Labor Day.  Today, that rule is rarely followed.

  • According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, there really is such a thing), Americans will eat approximately 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  The Council states that Labor Day is seen as the unofficial end of Hot Dog season.

  • As noted in the history, Labor Day was created by unions to celebrate its members.  How many people in the working force today belong to unions? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14.8 million union members in the workforce in 2017.

  • What is the biggest union?  It may surprise you to know that the biggest union is the National Education Association which has 3 million members.

  • If this fact is true, we are very thankful that the work week has evolved!  During the 19th century, Americans worked 12-hour days seven days a week!  It was the Adamson Act passed in 1916 that established the 8-hour workday that we know now.

  • To this day, there is still a Labor Day parade held in New York City that takes place throughout the 20 blocks north of the march that took place in 1882.

We hope that you enjoyed learning about the history and some of the facts surrounding Labor Day.  Next week, we’re going to take you on a special trip to see what it’s like in the day of a plumber’s life.  As always, if there is anything you want to see us cover, we’d love to hear from you!  You can find us on Facebook or Twitter, or you can email us at info@medlockservices.com.  We hope that you enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and stay safe!

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