2014-08-28 / Editorial

Workers recognized with Labor Day holiday

On Monday, Sept. 1, we will celebrate the national holiday called Labor Day.

Labor Day serves as the unofficial ending to summer. It heralds the soon to arrive fall season and reminds us that cooler weather is on the way. Our children return to school. Colleges resume. Football play begins.

Most of us recognize Labor Day as another opportunity for a three-day weekend. It is a time for backyard gatherings and picnics. Across the nation people will fire up their grills and relax with family and friends.

You work hard and deserve a day off. As we celebrate Labor Day, we should take a moment to remember how the holiday began.

More than 100 years ago, American workers had formed labor unions to represent those individuals employed by large corporations. It was a time when our nation began to realize that workers made a substantial contribution to the strength and freedom of our country. As with many of our national holidays, the labor day festivities were initially local celebrations.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Oregon approved the first legislation honoring the accomplishments of workers in 1887. Other states followed, and by 1894, 23 additional states had recognized a labor day holiday. Later that same year, Congress made the first Monday in September the official national Labor Day holiday.

But for all the rights that unions won for their workers in the past, today there are many in the work force who will not get a day off on Monday. They will be hard at work despite the holiday.

Also on Labor Day, there are those who want to work and cannot find a job. Rhode Island has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

Enjoy the Labor Day holiday on Monday. But remember, it’s back to work on Tuesday.

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