John Oliver Mason

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Labor Day in the USA

Posted by John Mason on September 2, 2013 at 4:10 PM

I have come back from marching in the 26th Annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and family Celebration, held today. We assembled at the Sheet Metal Workers hall at 1301 South Columbus Blvd, and we started with a rally in the middle of a torrential rain, but that did NOT dampen our spirits (pun intended). we marched north on Columbus Boulevard to the Great Plaza of Penn's Landing, and we had food and music and fun, even in the rain.

There was a time when workers could never assemble peacefully; corportions owned many state and local governments, and the federal government was no friend of workers either. (sound familiar?) Attempts of workers to form unions were treated by the corporate-owned state as subversive conspiricies, and organizers as criminals. It is quite an accomplishment of the Labor movement that workers could freely assemble, march, and display their pride-let us never lose that.

Labor Day was founded by Peter Maguire, General Secretary of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and who helped to found the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Maguire called for a holiday honoring workers,  "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." The first labor Day parade took place on September 5, 1882, in New York City, and the next one took place on the first Monday of September 1884, and the Central labor Union of New York urged labor bodies in other cities to hold their own Labor Day celebrations. In 1887, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado were among the first states to legally hold Labor Day as a holiday.

Do enjoy your cookouts and days at the beach-due to the struggles of workers organizing for their rights, and the rights of future generations-and look into the real history of Organzied Labor.  

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