I thought a lot about Labor Day today. Mama and Papa invited us over for
a refesher course in gluttony lunch. This day isn’t just about barbecues and the last day you can wear white, it is about us workers.
Having this one day off between 4th of July and Thanksgiving didn’t come without cost. And it was steep. The Pullman Palace Car Company cut workers wages as its companies revenue and demand for their rail cars dropped. That and 16 hour workdays was enough. They striked and railroad workers across the nation joined them. 125K railroad workers quit rather than handle Pullman’s cars. The government intervened because the strike was a threat to national safety and would interfere with mail delivery. As a result, 13 people were killed by the US Army and Marshals breaking up the strike. Making it a national holiday was the government’s way to appease labor.
I am very thankful for my job. And I’m thankful for the things the labor movement allows me and millions of other workers enjoy. Holidays, 8 hour workdays, overtime, etc. Workers like those in the Pullman Strike died for better conditions and pay.
I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day. This holiday celebrates our contributions and achievements and those of workers before us.