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Labor Day - the UGLY TRUTH

September 5th, 2011 at 05:54 pm



Today, I take a small sidestep from blogging about Personal Finance. Today, I would like to educate some of you on some of our glorious nation's history. That of Labor Day.

Labor Day is, in fact, the result of the massacre that occurred in Chicago's Haymarket Square in 1886. The United States, in an attempt to disassociate themselves from, and to basically forget about, the massacre of unarmed civilians and the prosecution of innocent persons, decided on the first Monday of September as the official holiday, in observance of the working common-folk. The actual day that protests for the 8-hour workday occurred on May 4, 1886.

Wiki article - Somewhat bipartisan accounts of the day and the proceedings and effects.
Good article that is to-the-point and asks a great question...

Why does the rest of the world observe this event accurately, while we blindly praise our government for a day off from the work that our forefathers fought and died for?

11 Responses to “Labor Day - the UGLY TRUTH”

  1. laura Says:

    The History of Labor Day

    For other Labor Day information, visit our Labor Day 2011 page.

    Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

    Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

    Founder of Labor Day

    More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

    Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

    But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

    The First Labor Day

    The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

    In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

    Labor Day Legislation

    Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

    A Nationwide Holiday

    The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

    The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

    The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership the American worker.

  2. uRabbit Says:

    Notice that article says absolutely nothing of the slaughtering of innocent persons, which - if you ask me - is quite a huge event during the labour movement.

    Also - Why does the rest of the world observe an even that took place in America, while most Americans have absolutely no idea what happened on that day?

    Why do you think?

    Another great step the government has made at censoring and blinding the masses.

  3. laura Says:


    After reading up on the Haymarket Affair, it appears that one innocent person lost their life during a protest which occurred following the May Day parade. I saw nothing which notated more people than the one mentioned, so I'm not sure that I see it as a massacre, nor do I trust wikipedia.

  4. patientsaver Says:

    I think when you announce that you're going to "educate" us about the history of our nation, it's a bit condescending.

    I would also never use Wiki as a source, since Wiki is made up of anonymous contributions by just about anyone who wants to, and nothing is verified. Just a suggestion.

  5. uRabbit Says:

    http://www.lucyparsonsproject.org/haymarket.html
    http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/571.html
    http://mobile.chicagoist.com/2009/05/01/friday_flashback_the_haymarket_trag.php

    Ignorance is bliss, I understand. Why would the govt keep record of their shortfalls?

  6. laura Says:


    I wouldn't necessarily say that ignorance is bliss. I would simply substantiate your argument with more tangible facts. I looked at the articles that you list and nowhere is any specific number of dead listed. "Undetermined" number of dead? The criteria of massacre isn't met based on the articles provided. I am not naive enough to believe that there isn't a fair amount of biased media coverage on things, and there are things which countries aren't proud of. I would find more substantial literature to help prove your point. Smile

  7. laura Says:


    I also wanted to add in recently reading up on Labor Day and it's place in our world, most industrialized nations celebrate THEIR own efforts for unionized work, NOT the American efforts. It appears that Canada has its roots in an 1840s movement, and the other countries origins make NO reference to the US's movements. Smile

  8. uRabbit Says:

    http://www.iww.org/en/history/library/misc/origins_of_mayday
    http://www.maydayusa.org/
    http://www.acpp.org/sevents/0501.html
    http://www.ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_multicategories&view=article&id=1785%3Amay-1-international-workers-day-&Itemid=98&lang=en (Canada's observance)
    http://www.peoplesworld.org/international-workers-day-celebrated-in-cuba-latin-america/ (Latin Amerca)

  9. BuckyBadger Says:

    I also find it condescending when you deign to "educate" us about finance or anything else. From what I recall from your forum posts you are still quite early in your journey toward financial education. I'm not saying that I know more that you do about anything, but I'm not blogging about what other people should do, either...

  10. uRabbit Says:

    Education is a good thing. If your life is not spent seeking further education, then it is indeed a wasted one!

    Also, I do not claim to be a financial expert, nor do I ever try to sound like one. I merely share things that have worked for me. You never see me blog about stocks, dividends, real estate, or anything that I quite literally have not a drop of a clue about.

    When I say 'educate', I do not mean it in the form of a higher-than-thou position. I mean it in its more basic of forms. Education is a gift from whomever provides it. If you do not want it, simply and kindly say "No thank you," and leave it at that. In blog form, one would simply close that window of their browser and ignore it. That, or we may engage in healthy banter, as has been done so here.

    Do not take things so personal. It is not a healthy habit, and can actually lead to stress and anxiety issues. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I am no scholar, but I am skilled at removing emotion and do not personalize topics such as this. If I offended anyone with anything I have said, I apologize. I do not, however, apologize for trying to share the truth with the few readers I get.

  11. laura(momcents) Says:


    uRabbit, I don't want to scrutinize and decimate the argument that you are trying to make. You have every right to believe as you do. I take no offense at your attempt to enlighten me. However, the evidence that you present is circular and suspect. When I challenged you on your statements, you provided another list of articles which now branch out to May Day. The actual celebration of May Day has been in existence far longer and more universal than outraged and taken-advantage of workers protesting and arguing for unionization.

    As the parent of a thirteen year old, she learned the lesson that sometimes the myth is larger than reality. After watching "Titanic" she decided to reserch "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". The reality is that Maggie Brown did want to go back to search for survivors, however it was decided against it given the possible water vacuum that would pull the lifeboat down.

    My parents are first and second generation Irish. Let's look at the potatoe famine and literature that circulated about babies being used to make gloves. My husband is second-generation German. Look at the whole Operation Valkerie and see how that was regarded. The masterminds were regarded as traitors, only to be vindicated and posthumously regarded as heroes.

    And this is without emotion. I hope you'll consider this a gift. Smile

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