Most of you know today as Labor Day. What exactly is Labor Day? Sounds like a day to celebrate work, but it isn’t. Maybe it’s a day where we celebrate the ability for women to give birth? Nope, not that either.
Labor Day isn’t just a day off with pay. And it’s not BBQ at the beach or a celebration of the end of summer.
Actually, it’s a day for us to celebrate workers. But who really loves to work? Wouldn’t most people love to have enough money not to have to work? So, why do we celebrate the American worker?
Originally, Labor Day was an olive branch extended by President Grover Cleveland after he sent American troops in to stop the railroad workers strike and 12 workers were killed in the process. He gave them a day off (with pay?) to let things settle down. Cleveland’s olive branch withered and the celebration died away.
I appreciate the sacrifices that the American worker has made over the years to feed their families, buy homes and cars, provide their children’s education, and make a good life. But isn’t that what the American Dream is all about?
In the early days of America we had many shameful moments. Workers were taken advantage of. Working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, being replaced permanently if they were out sick a day or two, and even plant workers being beaten for not working hard enough. Barbaric!
But that was then. America has come a long way. I’ll even give the unions credit for helping to make working conditions fair and give workers some protections. But somewhere along the way, like with any big corporation that disconnects from its people, they went bad. Yes, bad.
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