Contact Us

Labor Day 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 03: Retired auto worker, Roger Heavner (L), participates in the 'Charlotte Labor Day Parade' on September 3, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Labor groups from across the state participated in the Labor Day event on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Labor Day holiday has been with us for quite a while. A machinist, Matthew Maguire, first proposed it in 1882 when he was Secretary of the Central Labor Union. Credit is also sometimes given to Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in the same year. He claims to have gotten the idea from a labor festival he attended in Toronto, Canada.

In 1887, Oregon became the first state in the union to make it a state holiday. If became a national holiday in 1894, following a number of deaths of Pullman Workers who were striking and were shot by U.S. Military and U.S. Marshals. Grover Cleveland signed it into law six days after the Pullman Strike ended.

Labor Unions

The heyday of the union movement is usually bracketed between 1900 and the 1970’s. There is no question of the value that labor unions provided to workers in America. Overtime pay, working hours and conditions, safety in the workplace, sick leave, maternity leave, unemployment insurance, collective bargaining, retirement plans and a host of other benefits. I believe an argument could be made that these changes would have all been made eventually but the speed of their implementation was probably faster due to the union movement.

We now have OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Wage and Hour Laws, EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board), to name a few.

The unintended consequences of these laws, is the migration of labor unions out of the private sector, and into the public sector. For the first time in American history there are more union workers in the government than there are in the private sector.

What Is Labor?

Labor has many definitions. For some it’s unions, for others it’s a celebration of their own efforts to finance their goals and dreams, to still others it’s the investment of both time and money to build their own business. A common phrase among business owners, “It’s a Labor of Love.”

To me, labor means freedom. Thanks to the constitution of the United States I can pursue any legal endeavor I choose. I have the freedom to succeed as well as the freedom to fail. There is more help to succeed in the United States of America than any other place on earth.

Labor is often confused with physical work. Work hard and you’ll succeed. What is the definition of hard work? Does the CEO, of a major corporation, with thousands of workers dependent on each decision, work hard? Does the farmer, tilling the field, work hard? Does the average housewife work hard? Does a CPA, rushing to complete a stack of tax returns before April 15th, work hard?

As you can see labor and work aren’t always synonymous. We all have our personal definitions of what labor is to each of us. So enjoy your freedom; labor away.

More from AM 1450

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://kmmsam.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on AM 1450 KMMS quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on AM 1450 KMMS quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!