With Labor Day fast approaching I thought it would be a good idea to look at the history of Labor Day and why we, as Americans, celebrate this day.
The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York and it was put on by the Center Labor Union.
It officially became a national holiday in 1894 after 13 workers were killed during the Pullman Strike.
The common thread that makes Labor Day so important is labor unions, or as we refer to them today as simply unions. Unions have been a political scourge almost from the inception of unions. People that are affiliated with unions are often referred to as "thugs" whether they are an active member or just a dues paying member.
As recently as this year the term "thug" was even tied to teachers in Wisconsin because they protested the governors union busting measures that were put into law.
As stated this is not a new phenomenon. Because of unions we have 40 hour work weeks, child labor laws (one would think you would not need a law to tell you not to hire children to work in factories, but sadly, we do) and vacations just to name a few. Unions have fought every inch of the way to make work environments safer for the worker.
The question that I have had for several years is why would politicians that oppose unions and want to get rid of them participate in events on a day that celebrates unions. A group in Wisconsin thought the same thing (maybe I do not really know if they had the same thought, a similar thought, or some other thought entirely) when they decided to bar Republicans from a parade on Labor Day.
Whether you agree with their decision to do this you can understand why they would not exactly be happy that someone who has fought to get rid of unions would be a parade honoring unions.
One of the Senators that was banned from the parade responding in this unique way:
"Having walked in this parade in past years," the statement read, "Congressman Duffy was hoping that for a moment, we could set our differences aside and simply have some fun in a family-friendly event."
In other words, he has fought hard against unions but on this day that celebrates unions other people should be required to set aside those differences so he can be a politician and get his face out there.
Of course when one does a google search about the story there are quite a few blogs with "thug" in the title when referring to the union that wanted the ban. Consistency sometimes is not an issue.
The ban was reversed days later after the mayor of the town threatened to make the group repay funds that the city provided them unless the Republicans were allowed to march.
As usual money is the glue that holds this parade together, even if the event sponsor does not want one of the groups to participate.
Mind you, this is nothing new, it has happened on both political sides of the aisle whether it's Republicans who oppose unions being allowed to march in a Labor Day parade that honors unions or gay groups participating in an activity sponsored by groups that oppose gay marriage.
For those who want to respond that Labor Day is not and should not be about politics I have this for you to ponder. Labor Day was first brought about by unions and it was made national after a dispute between unions and the federal government. I say that Labor Day is very political.
Happy Labor Day and remember for whom this day is for.