Labor Day

Labor Day is upon us once again. Unfortunately, it has come to mean mostly the end of summer and the start of school. It was originally to provide recognition for the men and women who operated our enormous industrial machine. Rallies were held in Pittsburg, Detroit, Chicago and other cities that were the center of so much unionized livelihood for American workers. Mayors, governors and presidents came to these events and mingled and spoke. Today, the massive steel mills along the Ohio around Pittsburg, the automobile manufacturing plants in Detroit, the shoe manufacturing plants and cloth milling plants in New England are simply some of the production facilities that are shuttered. In some cases they have also been torn down. Many of the corporations that operated these production facilities have not only transferred their production overseas, but they are in the process of transferring their headquarters with their finances also.

So, Labor Day really means little beyond the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. It strongly resembles Presidents’ Day which was once two separate holidays celebrating the birthdays of presidents Washington and Lincoln and now is one day with all presidents lumped in. Somehow I don’t feel like getting up for a collection that includes Harding and Nixon.

Whereas Labor Day is the result of pressure from organized labor to recognize the work of ordinary Americans, President’s Day is the result of pressure from commercial organizations to provide them with a single day on which they could focus their sales advertising.

With so much work being transferred out of this country to take advantage of cheap labor and the diversification of “new” work opportunities, will Labor Day ever recapture its focus on the American Worker?

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