So the idea of “summer” as a season-long vacation is so deeply ingrained that we can’t believe it’s not real — instead, we convince ourselves it’s just happening somewhere else to someone else. Cue the Labor Day ennui: we have somehow “missed out” on the summer that everyone else was having! Where was I this whole time? Just at work like a total chump? During the summer? Quick, hand me that moldy beach towel so I can wipe my tears. It’s a collective entitlement to summer relaxation that morphs into a shared melancholy when we think we’ve been robbed. Cue the vacant stares over Labor Day hot dogs, the heavy drinking of pale ale, the furious application of sunscreen from a still-full tube.
From the Monitor:
Americans are pretty tone deaf when it comes to Labor Day. Many don’t even know that labor unions created the holiday in 1882 to honor workers, mostly immigrants, who were organizing themselves against appalling wages and unhuman working conditions. Instead, we’ve devalued Labor Day — which is supposed to be celebrated today — to an end-of-summer holiday and cheapened it to a 3-day sales weekend.
We rarely pause to remember, let alone appreciate, the workers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who struggled and sometimes lost their lives to improve wages work conditions for their families.
From the Nation:
Today, America finds itself in a position of incredible challenge. Half of all Americans now make less than $15 an hour. Of the ten fastest-growing jobs in America, eight are service-sector jobs that pay $15 an hour or less.
Service-sector jobs are the heartbeat of our economy and our communities, from the folks who care for the elderly and our children, to those who cook and serve our food, to those who clean and secure our offices. Moving our economy forward must include making service jobs into good jobs with wages that you can raise a family on.
That’s why this Labor Day, the American people are sparking a new movement, joining together for an economy and democracy that works for everyone.
Fast-food workers have joined together to fight for $15 an hour. They have been joined by home care workers who are calling for $15 an hour for all caregivers. Just last week 27,000 Minnesota home care workers joined together in union, determined to raise wages and fight for quality home care for our seniors.
Working people in Seattle fought for and won a $15 minimum wage for 100,000 people, and other cities are poised to do the same. Across our nation adjunct professors, airport workers, security officers, hospital workers, Walmart workers and other service-sector workers are standing up and sticking together.
Labour Day (Labor Day in the United States) is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. For many countries, Labour Day is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on 1 May. For other countries, Labour Day is celebrated on a different date, often one with special significance for the labour movement in that country. In Canada and the United States, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September and considered the official end of the summer holiday for most of the respective countries, as public school and university students return to school that week or the following week. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Day