On Labor Day weekend, it’s a time to reflect on the state of employment opportunities and how well our labor force is treated – or not. I think gatherings are great, and having a Monday off has always been a treat. The commercial aspects are annoying, but that’s what we live with now.
I looked all over to see if there is a Labor Day parade in Denver on Monday, September 2, but I didn’t find anything. These parades used to be a big deal, winding walkers and cars and floats through the streets of Denver. The Denver Newspaper Guild members – like me – were happy to participate, then perhaps head for a bar (purely for air conditioning).
A newsletter from the Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department, notes that Colorado was the second state in the union to establish a real Labor Day. Oregon was first. Labor Day became a federal holiday on June 28, 1894, signed into law by President Grover Cleveland. The department has organized a pop-up exhibition of images related to Labor Day on their floor; people certainly dressed up in more finery than we do today to mark this day.
Many things have changed, but because of unions we have certain rules that continue today to make life better, though perhaps not applied as strictly as years ago. Still, work is work; if only wages would catch up to the hours of work, it would be better.
Below is a link to an essay from the library, noting Colorado’s early support for Labor Day. Then, a complex article by Caleb Crain published recently in The New Yorker; it’s titled “The State of the Unions.” Finally, there’s a link to a section of YouTube that specializes in union songs, which are quite remarkable, especially I’m a Union Maid.
Happy Labor Day!