September 5, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 20

Where Labor Day came from and where it's going

Guest Commentary

Webster’s dictionary tells us that Labor Day was “set aside for special recognition of working people.”

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That’s nice, but “set aside” by whom? It certainly wasn’t the Wall Street corporate and political powers that be. They nearly swallowed their cigars when the idea of honoring labor’s importance to America’s economy and social well-being was first proposed in 1882. Rather, this holiday was created by the workers themselves, requiring a 12-year grassroots struggle that finally culminated with an act of Congress in 1894.

The campaign helped coalesce unions into a national...

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