I began this Monday morning awakening to a quiet house, full of grandchildren still sleeping soundly. I peeked in at them to find the youngest one wide awake and watching a little Paw Patrol. I grabbed some coffee and she joined me on the couch a few minutes later. She cuddled up under a blanket and put a pillow under head, and the Paw Patrol watching moved to the living room. After about a half hour she came over and rubbing her tummy, saying “I hungry”. So we made waffles. As I was making waffles, I was reminded it is Labor Day, and if not for the pioneers of the labor movement, I might not have the luxury of having the time to make waffles with my granddaughter. Thusly so I reflect and give thanks.
Today is Labor Day and it means family time, cookouts and sleeping in for some. The first celebration of workers was held in New York on September 5, 1882. Oregon made it a State holiday in 1884 and it became Federal in 1894 following the Pullman Strike. Throughout history there have been many steps towards the fair and equal treatment of the American Worker. Moving from 10 hour days, 6 days a week to the manageable 40 hour week that is now the norm (however, many people still work long days with low pay as not everything is equal) but we have made progress. Labor Day celebrates those warriors of labor.
Those individuals and groups who fought back for what is right and fair. We salute them with parades and recognition. The cookout came later. Maybe the cookout is the method that blue-collar workers chilled out on the weekends, or perhaps it was a method to get new members, food combined with camaraderie is always a good mix.
My personal thought is that groups of people gathered together then, to stand against the injustices being served up to the laborers of the United States and now we gather to celebrate that victory and to remind ourselves how far we have come and how much further we have to go.
My mother was an active member of the I.A.M., International Association of Machinists for many years. She was on the front lines, fighting for the rights of her brothers and sisters. I could not be more proud of her strength, perseverance and fearlessness. We joked about some of the risks she took, being a 5 ft British Immigrant. But strength is not related to height and my mom fought hard. Why? Because she knew it was right.
So today we will gather at my daughters home our combination of family, friends and loved ones and we will share a meal, some laughs and some stories. We will relax and enjoy our leisure time provided by the labor warriors who came before us.
Hoping your Labor Day is filled with relaxation and gratitude.
Until Next Time,