On Labor Day, we celebrate the achievements of American labor. On this Labor Day, we wish there were more Americans with jobs. We wish that our federal government could see its way to make it law that companies pay (barely) living wages. I'd pay an extra $1 so that a fast food employee could go off food stamps. Actually, I've read that I'd only need to pay an extra five cents to ensure a decent hourly wage for many low-paid employees.
The first Labor Day celebration was in New York City on September 5, 1882. The legislature of New York had considered a bill to establish a regular holiday, but Oregon was the first to pass it on February 21, 1887. First proposed as “a street parade to exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” Labor Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1984, when Congress made the first Monday in September a federal holiday.
Today, Labor Day seems entwined with family, friends, food, and festivities. I'll be thinking about all of the people without jobs - especially accomplished people my age who face age discrimination. It's a difficult time for many Americans and a good time to think about how everyone can help. Can't we put the country back to work in decent jobs? Do we have to outsource all that customer service work? Does anyone enjoy trying to explain a telephone problem to someone on the other side of the world?
Let's remember its purpose. Happy Labor Day!
Update: I spent my whole day cleaning, which was hard labor - much harder than my regular work. As a result, I wasn't able to write an afternoon feature. I'm sorry, but I do feel freed of some clutter.
Photo courtesy of bilerico.com