Happy Labor Day 2010 History – Women at Work WWII

United States will be having it’s federal holiday for the Labor Day this September 6, 2010. Labor Day is observed on every first Monday in September.

In the US the very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 . This federal holiday became official in 1894, when, following U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority and the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military.

History of Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold”.

“But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country,” said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another.

Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.” In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. Many other labor organizations, notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen’s Association, favored a May 1 holiday. With the event of Chicago’s Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, some believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that May Day holidays might strengthen the socialist movement, some moved to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day. Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886.

From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states ‘ Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York ‘ created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday ‘ a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday.

Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television. The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership ‘ the American worker. Today Labor Day is often regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.

Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day, as early as the 24th of July in many urban districts, including Nashville and Atlanta. According to Howard Zinn in his research in A People’s History of the United States, the original parade in 1882 organized by the Knights of Labor had a loose affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, a main reason why some supporters of a labor parade preferred the May Day march. A prominent Labor Day event in the United States, since 1966, is the annual telethon of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosted by Jerry Lewis to fund research and patient support programs for the various diseases grouped as muscular dystrophy. The telethon raises tens of millions of dollars each year. An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labor Day. The custom is rooted in nothing more than popular fashion etiquette. In actuality, the etiquette originally stated that white shoes were the taboo while white or “winter white” clothes were acceptable. This custom is fading from popularity as it continues to be questioned and challenged, particularly by leaders in the fashion world. “Fashion magazines are jumping on this growing trend, calling people who ‘dare’ to wear white after Labor Day innovative, creative, and bold. Slowly but surely, white is beginning to break free from its box, and is becoming acceptable to wear whenever one pleases. This etiquette is also compared to the Canadian fashion rule of not wearing green after Rememberance day.

In the celebration of Labor Day in the US ,  Here are some of the notable quotes and sayings which is perfect for the Labor Day:

God sells us all things at the price of labor. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Without labor nothing prospers. ~Sophocles

The end of labor is to gain leisure. ~Aristotle

During World War II the percentage of American women who worked outside the home at paying work increased from 25% to 36%. More married women, more mothers, and more minority women found jobs than had before the war.

Because of the absence of many men who either joined the military or took jobs in war production industries, some women moved outside their traditional roles and took positions in jobs usually reserved for men. Propaganda posters with images like “Rosie the Riveter” promoted the idea that it was patriotic — and not unfeminine — for women to work in non-traditional jobs. “If you’ve used an electric mixer in your kitchen, you can learn to run a drill press,” urged an American War Manpower Campaign. As one example in the American shipbuilding industry, where women had been excluded from almost all jobs except a few office jobs before the war, women’s presence went to over 9% of the workforce during the war.

Thousands of women moved to Washington, DC, to take government office and support jobs. There were many jobs for women at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, as the US explored nuclear weapons. Minority women benefited from the June, 1941, Executive Order 8802, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after A. Philip Randolph threatened a march on Washington to protest racial discrimination.

The shortage of male workers led to opportunities for women in other non-traditional fields. The All-American Girls Baseball League was created during this period, and reflected the shortage of male baseball players in the major league.

The large increase in the presence of women in the workforce also meant that those who were mothers had to deal with issues like childcare — finding quality childcare, and dealing with getting the children to and from the “day nursery” before and after work — and were often still primary or solo homemakers, dealing with the same rationing and other issues other women at home faced.

In cities like London, these changes at home were in addition to dealing with bombing raids and other wartime threats. When combat came to areas where civilians lived, it often largely fell to women to protect their families — children, the elderly — or to take them to safety, and to continue to provide food and shelter during the emergency.

© 2011 Copyright   Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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Comments

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