We Have Been Doing Labor Day Wrong for 135 Years

Let’s Put the Labor Back in Labor Day

Laborers working a construction site
Laborers working a construction site
Photo by Felix Zhao on Unsplash

Every year since the late 1800s, Americans have been taking the first Monday of September off. At least, most Americans take off. It has come to signify the end of Summer. It used to indicate the end of summer vacation and the start of the school year. It’s time for that last back yard barbecue or a trip to the pool.

It was supposed to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. So, typically, who doesn’t get this day off?

American workers.

The rest of the country leave their air-conditioned offices in their air condition cars and drive to their air-conditioned homes for three days.

For laborers, it’s Monday. They have been given that age-old motivational speech that would put Tony Robbins to shame.

Show up for work, or you’re fired.

I was in construction for sixteen years. I never got Labor Day off. Or most of the other major holidays for that matter. Why? You don’t work, and you don’t get paid.

People on salaries are getting paid to go to the beach and drink beer all day. The American labor force, hourly employees, and those working for minimum wage have to work. They need the money. They are laborers.

When you go out for that fancy meal on labor day, the cooks and servers are there just like any other day, slaving for minimum wage or less. Hoping you will throw them a few crumbs when you leave the table, stuffed on food they couldn’t afford.

But hey, it’s labor day.

So, here’s an idea. I doubt most people reading this will find it very popular. I suspect that not too many laborers come home from a day of stacking boxes in a stifling hot warehouse have the energy to peruse the latest pithy essays on the Internet. But that’s okay.

I wasn’t that popular, to begin with.

Let’s give Labor Day back to the laborers. If the heaviest thing you pick up all day is your iPad, get your ass back to work. Anyone that does actual labor gets the day off. Paid.

That’s right, the people that make in a week what some of you make in an hour get a whole day out of 365 paid for without having to labor for it.

Let’s put the labor back in labor day.

Written by

Photographer and Writer-I shoot what I see. I write what I feel. Read me in Publishous, Better Marketing, The Startup & Live Your Life on Purpose. You Do You.

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