Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Brief Labor Day Brief

How did the GOP ever agree to a Labor Day?

In 1894, when Labor Day became a national holiday, the President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was the only Democrat to hold the highest office in the land (twice) between the years of 1860 to 1912, a half-century of Republican Party political domination.

Legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through the 53rd U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Cleveland (
before Congress went on a “labor day” recess).

The inspiration and incentive for the creation of the national holiday was a labor strike, the 1893 Pullman Strike triggered by the railroad car company’s laying off of hundreds of employees—as it happens, a result of a dire economic downturn in the country.

Rioting, plundering and setting fire to railroad cars by unemployed union workers was matched by rioting, plundering and setting fire by mobs of non-union workers.

Seeking to quell the destruction and calm the fury, the leaders of the Central Labor Union of New York City proposed a labor’s day and saluted it with a parade and picnic. That they probably “borrowed” the idea from Canada might disturb today’s xenophobes, but no three-day-weekender from the Hamptons to Hawaii would object.

In addition to being a Federal holiday, a District of Columbia and U.S. Territories holiday, Labor Day is a State Holiday in all the 50 U.S. States. Can you imagine all 50 states agreeing on anything?

And that’s the end of my labor today.


  1. In my research to discover something that all 50 states agree on, I checked to see if drinking and driving is prohibited in all US states. Apparently as long as a driver is under the blood alcohol content limit, s/he may drink an alcoholic beverage while driving in Mississippi.

  2. I know it's hard to believe, but there was once a time when the GOP as cool as hell.

    Alas, those days are gone. The Party of Lincoln has been replaced by the Party of Limbaugh.