Hope you enjoyed Labor Day Weekend! Though the holiday is often considered to be the unofficial end of summer, with the heat advisories being announced throughout New York State we urge all readers to be up-to-date on the best ways to stay safe amid high heat.
Labor Day always falls on the first Monday of September, one of the few U.S. federal holidays to already be observed on a Monday prior to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, which itself was enacted to give workers three-day weekends to celebrate and keep employers from having to shut down for holidays in the middle of the week.
The reason for Labor Day’s placement stems from the date of the first unofficial parade held by 10,000 of New York’s workers to demand a living wage and proper working hours: Tuesday, September 5, 1882. In scheduling an annual observance of a holiday celebrating workers and renewing efforts to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for all, the Central Labor Union chose the first Monday in September in honor of the first demonstration. When President Grover Cleveland made it a federal holiday in 1894, he and the Congress of the time kept the date.
Today, Labor Day remains not only a time for catching big sales and partying with loved ones, but a time to remember the accomplishments of labor activists of the past and acknowledge the ongoing fight for workers’ rights and against workplace abuses.
For instance, New York City’s annual Labor Day Parade will be held on Saturday, September 9, and on September 6 Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks honoring New York’s labor movement as she signed into law legislation protecting workers from political and religious discrimination in the workplace, making the punishment for wage theft harsher, and increasing the minimum benefits/compensation given to injured workers. We have made considerable progress since the first Labor Day celebrations of the nineteenth century, but there is still work to be done.
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