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Monday, September 2, 2013

Today is LABOR Day!

I always ask my students on the Friday before Labor Day weekend if they know why they have Monday off.

"Labor Day!" many of them respond.

"Yeah, but what does it mean?" I ask. "Why do we have a day off to celebrate Labor Day?"

Many are likely thinking about barBQ and the beach? But there is almost always silence.

So I ask them to "Google" it and say something like: "Well, if you're going to have a day off every year you might as well at least know why."

Liberal columnist Paul Krugman points out:

"It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor. Here’s how it happened: In 1894 Pullman workers, facing wage cuts in the wake of a financial crisis, went on strike — and Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 soldiers to break the union. He succeeded, but using armed force to protect the interests of property was so blatant that even the Gilded Age was shocked. So Congress, in a lame attempt at appeasement, unanimously passed legislation symbolically honoring the nation’s workers."

Then he goes further, reminding us that there has been an assault on organized labor for decades.

Incredibly, a check on the mainstream news cites this morning at 7am found literally NOTHING on the meaning of Labor Day. Not a word.

Even though it was organized labor--American workers--who gave us weekends, an end to child labor, health care through our jobs, and the limited family and medical leave we now enjoy.

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