The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York.
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike.
President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
The September date was chosen originally rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair, which it had been observed to commemorate.
What Does Labor Day Mean To You?
That depends on you. To some it is the symbolic end of the summer, to others it is the last day of the year when it is fashionable for women to wear white, to some Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons, to politicians its a day for speeches.
How Should We Celebrate This Labor Day?
The Reform Party suggests a day of reflection on what we have lost.
Mourning the lost of millions of manufacturing jobs due to greed. We have outsourced good paying jobs to nations with cheap labor, no workers rights, no workers safety rules, no child labor laws, no EPA regulations, no product safety rules.
Mourning the fact that our elected representatives entered into nominally ‘free’ trade agreements, arguing that “the market could decide” while ignoring the fact that our trading partners in many cases had unfair trade advantages due to government control of manufacturing and hidden subsidies.
Mourning the fact that these trade agreements, instead of bringing prosperity to both trading partners, turned America from one of the largest exporters of goods in to one of the largest importers of goods. At the same time, the US went from the world’s largest creditor nation, to the worlds largest debtor nation.
Mourning the buying of our elected representatives and their party by union leadership that no longer represents the best interest of their members, by corporations that make decisions based on short term profiteering instead of long-term success, and special interest groups who will sell out the nation’s future for their own immediate gain.
How do we fix this?
How do we turn Labor Day back into a day of celebrating the hard work and sacrifices that our parents and grandparents and other ancestors did in turning America into the greatest nation in the world?
We must first take a hard look at our current trade agreements and decide whether the internal mechanisms of the trading partners can really make them workable. A trade agreement where one wins and the other loses can never be called “fair”.
Return the right and obligation of the government to manage trade where national interests are at stake.
Set in place incentives and remove barriers for small start-up companies to get back into the domestic manufacturing game.
Reduce restrictions on businesses that are not clearly shown to improve workers, consumer, and environmental safety. Any regulations on business must be precise and accomplish their purpose with out adding unnecessary paper work or cost.
Amend the Constitution so that non-citizens (including corporations or businesses, PACs, special interest groups, and unions) can not donate unlimited funds to political parties or candidates.
Let’s make Labor Day again something for all Americans to celebrate. Let's get Americans back to work in good paying jobs.