To most of us this weekend symbolizes the fact that summer is fading away and we are staring down the face of autumn.
For some, it's a chance for one more drive to the Cape to catch a final beach day or to venture north, to Maine's coast before the chill sets in. But, what is this holiday actually about?
The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. It was born out of America's labor unions.
"...the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed...that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it." - Samuel Gompers, Head of the American Federation of Labor - 1898
The first Labor Day occurred in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 when 20,000 people marched, demanding an eight-hour work day along with other reforms. They paraded up Broadway, carrying signs which read, "Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for Recreation."
The march was organized by the Central Labor Union of York by the Brotherhood of Carpenters and jointly backed by the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey.
The idea began to spread to other cities and in 1884 the first Monday in September was chosen as the day to mark the holiday.
Labor Day achieved its official status in 1894 in the wake of the Pullman Strike. The unfortunate method used to break that strike was to send in 12,000 federal troops who opened fire resulting in the deaths of two of the workers and massive protests.
In an attempt to heal the wounds between government and labor that year, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation designating Labor Day as a national holiday. The day was originally meant to be set aside in recognition of working people.
A century after Samuel Gompers spoke his famous words this holiday has taken on different meanings to different people.
It's the end of summer;
The beginning of school;
The return of football...
What does Labor Day mean to you?
Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, President, TheBuyersCounsel - 800-392-1446, E-mail
Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick, Newton, Northborough, Framingham, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Westborough