Labor Day is another holiday in America where everyone throws on Red, White and Blue, fires up the grill and chants “USA, USA” while drinking their American Beer (or, if you’re a basic bitch in 2019, White Claw), listening to country music and shooting off fireworks.
But in reality, I’m not sure we know what Labor Day is actually about.
According to the U.S. Dept of Labor, Labor Day celebrates and honors the greatest worker in the world- The American worker. Sorry Yugoslavia, Guatemala, China, Brazil and other places where they have workers (I think maybe in Finland, too?), the American worker is the best. The U.S. Department of Labor says so.
So really, what USA should be chanting each and every first Monday of September is B-E-K-A-H in celebration of ME, an American worker.
Looks like the records are fuzzy (also, I read ONE source) but either a guy named Peter McGuire or Matthew Maguire was the founder of Labor Day. Peter came from the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founded the American Federation of Labor. Matthew was the secretary of the Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists. And obviously they were both Irish-American. The record is clear that the Central Labor Union was the first to adopt a Labor Day proposal. They even had a committee and planned a demonstration and a PICNIC.
I’m boring you with these details while you sip a now lukewarm White Claw for this important fact:
“The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was 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. “ source
Labor Day is about the strength and spirit of the trades people and labor unions— the very thing that many politicians and state governments are trying to weaken around the country. And hey- I live in a major East Coast city where the Labor Unions have a ton of power and are out of control, I’m not pro-union in the way the Philly Unions run, but damn, I think they are hugely important today, especially in a climate that is pro corporate profits and less about the worker.
So anyway, get back to lighting fireworks and wearing your American Flag hats. You deserve a day off to celebrate…. but just remember WHAT you’re celebrating. It isn’t the Flag, nor our country even… It’s you, the worker, and the strength of American worker when we come together and say a big ol’ FU to the man.