Labor Day, on the first Monday in September, is a U.S. holiday that honors workers and the labor movement. It’s also the unofficial end of summer.
Labor Day 2020
Monday, September 7 so Labor Day Weekend is Friday-Monday, September 5-7, 2020.
International Workers’ Day
Most countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1.
We don’t because the U.S. government didn’t want the celebration associated with the Haymarket riot in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Since the Russian Revolution of 1917, May 1 has been downplayed to avoid any association with communism.
So we celebrate Labor Day in September.
Organized Labor is Important
Modern history is a struggle between owners and workers. Things go bad when either becomes too strong.
When the owners are too strong (like now), they take too much of the wealth created by workers. Most of the wealth created during this business cycle has benefited the investor class. It’s a process that’s been ongoing since the Reagan presidency of the 1980s.
The same is true of the 2017 Republican tax cut. Almost all the benefit of that went to the 1%. That’s why, though the economy is strong, wages are not keeping up with inflation. Even worse, the $1.5 trillion tax cut didn’t come from an increase in revenue or decrease in spending. The money was borrowed, so young workers are going to have to pay it back.
When workers are too strong, we end up creating silly work rules like we had in the 1970s. That doesn’t work in a globalized world. There will always be someone somewhere who will do the job for less, and never say, “that’s not my job.”
We need to find a balance. Economies stagnate when wealth is distributed unequally. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors understood that. Realizing that his own workers couldn’t afford his cars, Henry Ford increased wages and guess what happened? He sold more cars and made more money.
Fairer wealth distribution benefits everyone. That’s why we need to protect and support the Labor Movement now.
Labor Day Began in New York City
The first Labor Day celebration was a parade in Union Square in September 5, 1882. It was organized by the Central Labor Union.
In 1884, the Labor Day celebration was moved to the first Monday in September. U.S. Congress made it a national holiday in 1894.