Evolving Labor Day
Did you have a good Labor Day? The Czar certainly hopes you did, but if not, consider yourself in pretty decent company.
That said, Labor Day is a day we set aside to honor a grotesquely un-American tradition of worshiping labor unions. Yeah, we kid ourselves about the meaning of Labor Day extending to all working men and women everywhere, but let’s be honest: this is a socialist holiday.
Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City and became widespread in a matter of years. In 1894 it became a nationalized holiday. See what the Czar did there? He is so clever that he often refers to himself in the third person.
You can read the simple origin of Labor Day at the Department of Labor website, which goes into all sorts of interesting trivia about how the day’s traditions have changed over time, and how important the Department of Labor thinks it is we still have unions.
But of course you know that information is being edited out. For example, there’s no mention there that Labor Day didn’t start here in the US. Actually, we have the Canadians to thank for that. In September, 1872, a massive protest by Canadian labor groups in Toronto sparked PM Macdonald to rescind numerous anti-union laws. In commemoration of that event, Canadian unions began to celebrate the first weekend in September as a day to celebrate the legalization of Canadian unions.
It was in 1882 that Americans in New York, inspired by the Canadians, staged their first celebration on the same weekend.
Flash-forward to May, 1885, in Chicago. The Haymarket Riot was a banner day for Leftists everywhere, and Europeans began celebrating May 1 as the International Workers’ Day, forever linking that day with communism. Not surprisingly, labor unions here in America wanted to move Labor Day to May 1st in solidarity.
The movement grew so widespread that, following the Pullman strike in the summer of 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation to make Labor Day the first Monday in September. He did this for two linked reasons: he rightly recognized that the outrage of the Pullman strikein which Federal troops and officers killed American strikerswas going to spark some sort of demand for action by the general public. Cleveland threw them the bone of Labor Day, picking the originally proposed September date to commence immediately upon his signature. Of course, his second reason for doing so was the sober recognition that picking the first Monday in September meant that Labor Day would not be May 1 of each year. Cleveland was smart enough to realize the extreme danger the Left posed for Americans, and was possibly the last Democrat president to do so. To deny them the psychological victory of the International Worker’s Day being celebrated in the US annually, Cleveland gave the unions the September date.
A better question for Americans is not whether they know the wicked history of Labor Day, but whether it still matters. Union membership continues at an all-time low, and long-term trends show unions are very much in an existential fight.
And this, despite the growth of public-sector unions and the reality that a majority of Americans still think unions are a theoretically good idea. For the record, the Czar offers a mild tolerance to trade unions (electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc.) because he has personally witnessed, on countless opportunities, the dangerously substandard work of non-union craftsmen. But he sheds no tears anytime a union trade goes non-union, and he remains celebratory when clever folks find ways to beat the trade unions at their own game.
In the long run, unions are doomed. And that includes the public sector ones as more states adopt the Wisconsin model of “collect your own damn dues.” After that, will Labor Day remain that wonderful last-day-of-Summer party, or will it go the way of Armistice Day or Victory Day?
How about promoting Constitution Day, on September 17th? That seems a just and appropriate replacement.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.