Monday, 5 September 2016

Labour Day

When I was growing up Labour Day had nothing to do with work for me. It meant the last weekend at the cottage, closing it up for the harsh winter to come. The time for corn roasts and bonfires at the neighbours. The last weekend before school started.

According to wikipedia...  "Labour Day has its origins in the Labour Union Movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated 8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation and 8 hours for rest."

Actually my first job was in a factory where I started at 7 in the morning and worked 9 hours a day, not counting the 1/2 hour for lunch and the 2 breaks of 15 minutes. It was a literal sweat shop as the machines heated to hot enough to quickly melt plastic sheets over the molds, and the only windows were way up near the high ceiling. I got paid $1 an hour or $45 a week.  It was a summer job and I never went back, but I did have an appreciation for people that worked these kinds of jobs and hours.

Canada and the United States celebrate Labour Day the first Monday in September. Other countries celebrate on May 1st and it is called Eight-Hour Day or International Worker's Day, and some on another day.

Relevant Links

Souvenir programme: Labour Day 1902, the union forever, San Francisco

The Labour Gazette, Canada

Annual Dept of Labour report 1920-1983: wage rates, salaries and hours of labour

The New South Wales Industrial Gazette, 2 volumes

Proceedings of American Federation of Labor

Louisville Industrial and Commercial Gazette

Labor Union Directory, Chicago 1939

Official directory of the Toronto Trades and Labour Council 1896

Directory of labor organizations in Massachusetts, various years

Directory of labor organizations in Montana, various years

Labour Day souvenir: Willows Park, Monday Sept 4th 1916, Victoria, BC

Labour Day souvenir: Allied Trades and Labour Association, 1898 Ottawa

Historical Labour Day 1898 souvenir: official programme Toronto

Related Posts:  Occupations and Wages

1 comment:

  1. I am sure when I was growing up I never celebrated work on Labor Day - it was the last big hurrah before school started. Now it's another reason for stores to have a sale.


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