Every now and again, I like to do a little research into the background of why we do the things we do in this country...especially holidays. You've all endured past posts about Easter, Christmas, and an assortment of "other" holidays that have grown to mythical proportions. But what about Labor Day? Where the heck did THIS one come from? And why do I feel compelled to fire up a barbeque, put my hand down the front of my pants, and drink Schlitz Malt Liquor? Is "Labor Day" something genetic? Or was it simply a holiday designed for Jerry's Kids and a telethon after T.V. was invented??? LOL
To the best of my extensive research knowledge (which includes Google, a book on black magic, and yelling at my neighbor over the fence), this is what I found about the origins of "Labor Day". Now mind you, this information is coming from the U.S. Department of Labor...a "govmet" entity...so can we REALLY trust it to be true?:
Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Founder of Labor Day
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.
The First Labor Day
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.
Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887.
During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
A Nationwide Holiday
A Nationwide Holiday
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
Mkay...now THAT was truly boring and patronizing, no? Because if you're like me and nearly a quarter of American laborers, YOU DON'T GET THE DAYUMED DAY OFF! That's right...if you work in a hospital, or are a fireman, a police officer, a burger flipper at the local McDonald's and so on, you STILL report to work on Labor Day. And, except for the greeter at Walmart who still has to report to work on the first Monday of September (although I may be wrong here...Walmart workers may be more organized than I give them credit for...but I digress), almost ALL of the above professions are UNIONIZED!!!
And here's the real kick in the teeth to all of us considered "essential" staff (these are the people the National Guard will go out and BRING to work in the event of a disaster)...we don't get Labor Day off and we're paid FAR less than most of the people who DO get the day off in their work week. How did that happen?!? I only have Monday off because it falls on my REGULAR work rotation to be off...not because it's a holiday...because I GOT LUCKY with the Roman Calendar!
OK...enough of that rant. On to Labor and MS...
I had great difficulty finding ANY statistics about the United States labor force and how many of us with Multiple Sclerosis remain gainfully employed (or how many workers with MS actually get Labor Day off...oops! There I go again...LOL). The best statistic I could find (and it's really poor) comes from the National MS Society...the Mothership of Spending Your Donations Gathering Statistics.
It appears a recent (When? Do they say? No...) survey done by the NMSS indicated "35% of people with MS are employed after 20 years with the disease". I read this and shook my head in disgust. It tells me nothing, except some people are still working with MS. But how MANY is what I want to know...who ARE these MSer's and what do they do? Are they still working full-time or reduced hours? What kinds of "labor" are they engaged in?
The best I could do is my own math on this one, which is purely speculation. Since it is estimated there are approximately 400,000 peeps currently diagnosed and living with MS in the USA, 35% of that number is 140,000. So, roughly 140,000 MSer's are working in the labor force...crude statistic, for sure, but a little more telling than "35% after 20 years diagnosed".
I think I may know of FOUR of you...that's right...I know of .003% of this 35% of the working MS class.
So tell me...ARE you diagnosed with MS and still working either full or part-time? If you are no longer in the work force, when did you leave it and why? Please enlighten me with some micro statistics here on CHEESE...but don't tell the NMSS! They'll quite possibly try to claim this survey as their own...LOL
Oh...and Happy Labor Day. That is, if you're a lucky turd who gets the day off!...LOL...