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.