Monday, September 7, 2009

The Origin of Labor Day

Hey? What are YOU doing here? Shouldn't you be at work or something? Oh, that's right, today is Labor Day!

Today is the National Holiday President Grover Cleveland set aside to celebrate Unionized American Workers, Labor Unions, and Political (Union) Cronies!
But let me ask you this: Do you know WHY you're home from work today? Do you know the reason for Labor Day, and why it's celebrated in September?

Did you ever think about those questions? Hmm, did ya, did ya???

(If, however, you are at work today, or this evening, please accept my sincere apologies. My wife is a Nurse, and since she has a 'real job' (defined here as 'Saving Lives, Administering care to the sick, to the well, to the dying, Counseling Families, and giving sponge baths to 'large, and sometimes stinky people') she often works Labor Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, Ground Hog Day, Thanksgiving, Arbor Day and other major national holidays.)

As for the rest of us? Oh yes, Labor Day is a day of 'leisure'. It is a day in which Americans celebrate "stickin' it to the man" one last time by NOT showing up for work during the waning moments of summer.

So let's take a moment to do an EXCLUSIVE Moos Room Investigation of:


(Feel free to add your own 'Echo' as you read the prior CAPs section (above) in your mind)

And what better place to start than the Department of Labor?! After all, it's a Department with 'Labor' in its title, right?

Okay, we're going in...

Q.: Who was the 'Founder of Labor Day'?

A.: Great question, please ask another!
SERIOUSLY! FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WEBSITE: "More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

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."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic."

Moos Translation: Unions adopted the Labor Day 'concept' to prove that they were united, they could get together to drink beer, to eat chicken, and to get disorderly WHENEVER they wanted to and there was 'nothing' that their employer could do about it.

In 1883, a union member was quoted as saying, "BRRRRAAAAPPPP... Oh yeah, AND we're gonna work on getting FREE health care so we don't have to pay for nothin', even if it takes more than 100 years! Nana nana boo boo!" (Sorry, I made that part up - but you know one of them was thinking it...)

Q.: Can you tell me about the First Labor Day?
A.: I could, but then I'd have to kill you.
OKAY, YOU ASKED: "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. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Moos Translation: "Hey, how come THOSE guys got off for the day and WE didn't? We're in a UNION too, darn it, and we want a day off! We WANT a day off, we WANT a day OOOOFFFFFFFFF!

Oh, and one more thing, we want FREE health care for us, I mean, errr, for all Americans! Yeah, for ALL American Union members! Nana nana boo boo!" (Hmm, I see a 'Nana nana boo boo' pattern beginning to emerge here...)

Q.: When did 'Labor Day' become a national holiday?

A.: On June 28th, 1894
WHAT, NO WISECRACK? Come on people, it's a 'date'! 'Dates' are not funny things.

Unless, of course, it's about night I first met my wife in a bar, but that is Waaaayyy out of line for a post on Labor Day. Plus, as everyone KNOWS, it's been a LABOR OF LOVE ever since. "Nana nana..." Oh, you get the idea.

Q.: Hey, how come so many other countries celebrate their 'International Worker's Day' in May (a.k.a.: May Day), and we're stuck with the first Monday of September?

A.: President Grover Cleveland didn't want blood in the streets of major U.S. cities while he was in office...

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? According to Wikipedia: "In countries other than the United States and Canada, resident working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday and their efforts largely succeeded. For this reason, in most of the world today, May Day is marked by massive street rallies led by workers, their trade unions, anarchists and various communist and socialist parties."

Now THAT does sound like a party!!!

CONTINUING FROM WIKIPEDIA: "The first Labor Day celebration was held on September 5, 1882, and was organized by the Knights of Labor. The Knights began holding it every year and called for it to be a national holiday, but this was opposed by other labor unions who wanted it held on May Day (as it is everywhere else in the world).

After the Haymarket Square riot in May, 1886, President Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots.

Thus he moved in 1887 to support the Labor Day that the Knights supported."

Moos Translation: To quote Jim Morrison and the Doors, President Cleveland was trying to avoid the following (which he feared would arise if US Labor Unions celebrated the May 1st date):

"Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven

Blood stains the roofs and the palm trees of Venice

Blood in my love in the terrible summer

Bloody red sun of fantastic L.A.

Blood screams the pain as they chop off her fingers

Blood will be born in the birth of a nation

Blood is the rose of mysterious union

There's blood in the streets, it's up to my ankles

Blood in the streets, it's up to my knee

Blood in the streets in the town of Chicago

Blood on the rise, it's following me"

As an aside, this year's Official DOL Labor Day 2009 Poster (PDF) file can be found by clicking HERE.  I mention it because I'm sure you'll want to print out a copy and stick it up on your wall today! (Got darts?)

In conclusion:

If you have a good day today, hug a Teamster!

If you have a bad day today, keep it to yourself!

If you are a Union Member, THANKS for the day off Comrade Worker!

If you are a Non-Unionized Employee, thanks for doing your job every day and not whining about it!

If you work in a mixed work environment (in a Management AND Craft (a.k.a.: Union shop)) like I used too, well, you have my sympathies! Don't get a grievance filed on you! Smile ,and just say 'thanks' to the Shop Steward!

If you are Jim Morrison, I'm sorry that you're not with us any more, although those lyrics dude, what was up with those lyrics?
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