It is the Labor Day weekend, here in the United States. It is a weekend that marks the unofficial end of summer. We take one last trip to the beach. We have cookouts and drink a lot of beer. Most people consider this to be just another day off of work.
If you have a job, you get a paid day off and if you own a business, you are paying for your employees to have the day off.
As the industrial revolution took hold in America, so did deplorable working conditions. Workers were working long hours in factories. Children were even put to work. Sweat shops and hot, dirty factories sprang up everywhere.
Many millionaires and billionaires were made. Names like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford ruled the land. They built their fortunes on the backs of these hard working people.
Many people died in industrial accidents. Some, like coal miners, died later of diseases like “black lung.”
The labor unions were born to protect these people. The unions fought for better working conditions, shorter work hours and higher pay. Slowly, the titans of industry gave in. Working conditions improved, the 40 hour work week was invented and wages increased.
Then, on September 5, 1882 the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated. It was only observed in New York City, but a movement was started. By June 1892, the US Congress pass a law that designated the first Monday in September as a national holiday, called Labor Day. Finally, the workers of America were honored for their contributions to the prosperity on the United States of America!
All of the citizens in the USA owe a debt of gratitude to those earlier workers of the Industrial Revolution! They turned our agriculture based society into an industrial powerhouse that had never seen.
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