Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day

Abraham Lincoln often said he had the greatest respect for the man who works. So do I. That is why Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays.

It is a safe bet that most Americans do not realize that Labor Day actually originated in ... Canada. Back in the 1870s there were big labor strikes and marches in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario. This was the first time organized parades and celebrations on a large scale brought major attention to the harsh working conditions of the laborer. Such marches and protests were considered criminal in many jurisdictions.

The strikes in Hamilton, Ontario, were referred to as the Nine Hour Movement. That movement lead to the first labuor union in Canada in about 1873. Over the next decade or so, Canadian laws were passed to protect organized labor -- though progress was slow in many respects. Of course, there were many places where protests and strikes and parades were taking place -- but these were some of the first really major ones.

Following Canada's lead, the United States began to recognize a special day for Labor, also.

To the best of my knowledge, Labor Day is the only non-religious holiday that is celebrated on the same day in both Canada and the United States.

So here's to all the loggers, farmers, teachers, iron workers, construction workers, nurses and all those other people who we so often take for granted. And here's also to Canada for bringing this holiday to the states.

I think the term organized labor can be used as a double entendre as we salute all the working people in both Canada and the United States who have worked so hard to bring many reforms to our every day work lives.

Thank you to all of those people who have come before and to all of you and your families.


willow said...

Love Lincoln. Interesting post. Hope you're enjoying the long weekend, Russell.

Maureen said...

One more reason on the list for moving to Canada.

Boise Diva said...

Labor Day is one of my busiest WORKING days...I've always felt a bit cheated that way, but I do get over it. And this excellent post helps!

Jo said...

I remember my father telling me about this when I was a little girl. And seeing that picture of the loggers felling that tree sort of warms my heart. :-) I have photographs just like that, taken by my father. I was looking at the photographs just yesterday, in fact.

Here's a bit of trivia for you. Did you know that all loggers wear suspenders? Anyone who shows up to work on a logging crew wearing a belt instead of suspenders is sent home. It's a safety thing.

Happy Labor Day, Russell. Or as we say in Canada, Happy Labour Day. :-)

Small City Scenes said...

Well said!! Excellent post. MB

Avril Fleur said...

Ahh Labour Day! Just another reason for me to be a proud Canadian!! Many present day labour and employment laws (the 8 hour work day for instance) originated due to the efforts of the common working man, organized labour and unions and for that I am eternally grateful!

Hilary said...

Another fine post, Russell. Leave it to you to remember Canada. Happy Labo(u)r day!

Finding Pam said...

Thank you for sharing something so significant with us. Excellant post.

Happy Labor Day!

larkspur said...

I haven't seen a lot of hummingbirds this year. Spotted one in the garden in July and that's it. I'll keep my eyes open.

The warblers came thru earlier. I don't remember ever seeing those here before. And the gold finches are everywhere. Always exciting to see that scalloped flight of yellow!
Have a great Labor Day.

Cedar said...

Thank you Canada! For Labor Day and for Hockey...and Canada Dry Ginger Ale...and especially for Leonard Cohen...and so much more.

Country Girl said...

What an interesting post, Russell. (One can tell you are a teacher, you know). And I did not know that about Canada and Labor Day. In fact, I didn't know a lot of things about Canada until I read them all on Josie's blog!!
Hope you had a great day.

Dr.John said...

I learned something by coming here today. Thank you.