La­bor Day gives lo­cals a chance to catch up on rest

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - SJ Correspond­ent

For The United State’s em­ployed, September’s first Mon­day means cel­e­brat­ing the so­ci­etal and eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tions of the work week with La­bor Day.

The hol­i­day shines a spot­light on hard work­ing men and women of by in­vok­ing pa­rades, store sales, rest, and re­lax­ation.

While not ev­ery worker gets the day off, the Amer­i­cans who strap on their boots each and ev­ery morn­ing de­serve to be hon­ored.

The United States is not the only coun­try that cel­e­brates La­bor Day, but only Amer­i­cans cel­e­brate the hol­i­day on Sept. 1. La­bor Day also sees its ori­gins in the United States with “the first La­bor Day cel­e­bra­tion be­ing on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City” and later be­com­ing a fully “na­tional hol­i­day in 1894,” ac­cord­ing to the United States Depart­ment of La­bor.

Mean­while, state after state ap­proved La­bor Day un­til “a to­tal of 24 states en­acted La­bor Day leg­is­la­tion in 1894.”

Congress, see­ing that only the District of Columbia and other ter­ri­to­ries had yet to ap­prove La­bor Day, made Sep.1 a na­tional hol­i­day.

Who founded La­bor Day is an ever­last­ing de­bate. Some point to “Peter J. McGuire, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Brother­hood of Car­pen­ters and Join­ers and a co-founder of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of La­bor” as the founder, ac­cord­ing to the DOL.

The DOL also states that “Re­cent re­search seems to support the con­tention that Matthew Maguire, later the sec­re­tary of Lo­cal 344 of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ma­chin­ists in Pater­son, New Jer­sey, pro­posed the hol­i­day in 1882 while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of the Cen­tral La­bor Union in New York.”

While its par­ent re­mains un­known, one can say for sure the worker cel­e­brat­ing hol­i­day would not ex­ist with­out the help of the states and cit­i­zens.

The United State’s full time la­bor force is ap­prox­i­mated be­tween 127-158 mil­lion by stat sites such as www.in­fo­please.com and www.statista.com; The United State’s part time la­bor force is ap­prox­i­mated at 26 mil­lion by the two sites.

Out of roughly 300 mil­lion, al­most 50 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are pay­ing taxes, giv­ing back to their com­mu­ni­ties, and spend­ing time away from home be­cause of work.

La­bor Day, again, does not guar­an­tee all work­ers a day off.

The in­abil­ity to take time off sparked the con­cept of La­bor Day Week­end which starts the Satur­day and Sun­day be­fore the of­fi­cial hol­i­day.

With a much larger por­tion of em­ploy­ees hav­ing week­ends off, Amer­i­cans have the op­por­tu­nity to watch or join in on the La­bor Day Pa­rade and fes­ti­val.

Be­ing present on the orig­i­nal 1894 cel­e­bra­tion, the La­bor Day Pa­rade is one of the hol­i­day’s old­est tra­di­tions and con­tin­ues to this day.

Var­i­ous cities host La­bor Day pa­rades (the big­gest be­ing in New York City) each with bright col­ors, march­ing bands, and var­i­ous fes­tiv­i­ties.

The pa­rade’s orig­i­nal in­tent was to ex­hibit “the strength and es­prit de corps of the trade and la­bor or­ga­ni­za­tions of com­mu­ni­ties,” as listed by the Depart­ment of La­bor.

The ori­gin of the La­bor Day Sale is un­clear but con­sid­er­ing the al­ways im­plied day off, stores have likely been hav­ing sales for as long as the hol­i­day has been around.

With the hol­i­day mak­ing free time for so many Amer­i­cans, ma­jor stores like Ama­zon, Tar­get, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Wal­mart among oth­ers push out ma­jor sales for the crowds that now have time to stop by the store and spend money.

One of the more sen­ti­men­tal val­ues of La­bor Day lies in the hol­i­day’s ti­tle as “the un­of­fi­cial end of Sum­mer.” Many fall sports and ac­tiv­i­ties be­gin after La­bor Day, and the school year be­gin­ning around La­bor Day is not un­com­mon.

La­bor Day mark­ing the Sum­mer is an age old tra­di­tion that has fol­lowed the hol­i­day.

Over a cen­tury later and La­bor Day is still mak­ing sure Amer­ica’s hard work­ers are re­mem­bered.

Those who pay the taxes that keep the coun­try run­ning, those that take care of the ill, those that open busi­nesses, those that teach youth, and the cit­i­zens in be­tween have con­trib­uted to the well-be­ing of the na­tion.

La­bor Day Mon­day gave Polk County’s work force the op­por­tu­nity to hit the snooze but­ton, and with 24 hours of free time on their hands, the hard work­ing men and women of Polk chose to spend the hol­i­day in very dif­fer­ent ways.

Bran­don Gra­ham, 18, is a full time videog­ra­pher at Miura Man­u­fac­tur­ing where he writes, films, and ed­its any video the com­pany re­quests.

“I mainly make mar­ket­ing videos,” said Gra­ham. “But I used to do a lot of train­ing and con­cep­tual videos to help new em­ploy­ees.”

La­bor Day marked the young ed­i­tor’s third off day in a row, but Gra­ham spent his 3 day week­end edit­ing.

“I’ll use the ex­tra free time to edit a mu­sic video my friend Nathan Echols and I shot ear­lier,” said Gra­ham. While videog­ra­phy is his job, Gra­ham gen­uinely en­joys putting to­gether videos. “I make Youtube videos in my spare time, but I’m also a free­lance ed­i­tor so I do projects upon re­quest.”

For Miura’s own videog­ra­pher, La­bor Day was an­other day of do­ing what Gra­ham en­joyed.

Su­san Alexan­der, 36, got some time off from her usual job as an ac­coun­tant thanks t o La­bor Day and hoped to spend it do­ing “noth­ing but gen­uinely re­lax­ing,” said Alexan­der.

“Be­ing at the of­fice 40 hours a week gets to be ex­haust­ing when you don’t re­ally get to use your va­ca­tion days any­more,” she added.

Alexan­der is a mother of two, and chooses to save va­ca­tion days for emer­gen­cies rather than va­ca­tions.

“With two kids you never re­ally know when you’ll have to skip work for the doc­tor, and I get sick some­times too,” she said.

The busy ac­coun­tant was look­ing for­ward to La­bor Day so she could “just sit down and watch some tele­vi­sion for more than a cou­ple hours be­fore I fell asleep.”

Thanks to the hol­i­day Alexan­der is likely more re­freshed and ready for the work week ahead.

Bran­don White­head, 18, is get­ting 4 con­sec­u­tive days off thanks to La­bor Day. At T&R fix­tures, White­head works sev­eral hours longer than a nor­mal em­ployee, but the young worker is of­fered Fri­day, Satur­day, and Sun­day off in ex­change.

LaborDay marks 4 free days for White­head who in­tended to “just re­lax and en­joy my week­end off of work. I might go swim­ming and all of that good stuff.”

White­head spends a lot of his spare time out­doors long board­ing, walk­ing, and film­ing. September’s first Mon­day meant White­head didn’t “have to re­serve any ac­tiv­i­ties for next week,” and that he sim­ply got “to do what (he) wanted when he wanted.”

Jim Harold, 61, is fully re­tired but still ben­e­fited from La­bor Day.

“I t was l ess me about me get­ting a day off and more about my chil­dren get­ting one,” said Harold.

“The plan’s to gather at my house and have a big cook out with all the friends and fam­ily.”

Cook­outs are a tra­di­tion at the Harold house­hold, and as long as the fam­ily’s sched­ule per­mits it, the event hap­pens an­nu­ally. “I like to grill and noth­ing brings the fam­ily to­gether like food and a day off.”

Lo­gan Wil­liams, 15, saw La­bor Day as a chance to for­get about school and sleep in.

“I don’t work, but since my teach­ers get La­bor Day off, I get to sleep past 6 a.m. for once,” joked Wil­liams. “I’ll prob­a­bly just play some video games and lounge around a bit. I don’t re­ally have any school work to catch up on or any­thing.”

Wil­liams is cur­rently in his sopho­more year of high school.

“I got ev­ery­thing done ahead of time, so I didn’t have to work over the long week­end,” said Wil­liams.

It’s an­other solid year un­til the next la­bor day, but Polk cit­i­zens seemed to have made the best of their day off.

Be­tween work­ing on mis­cel­la­neous projects, re­lax­ing, in­dulging in hob­bies, or hav­ing a fam­ily gath­er­ing, the first Mon­day of September meant the work force got to what they wanted for a day.

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