North America: why a different Labour day?
The published storyline is that the US government was scared of riots on international labour day, May 1st, and socialism when the date, first Monday in September, was selected.
In North America the first Monday in September is the “Labor Day Weekend”. In the US the Monday is a national Holiday. Not vacation, Holiday. Vacations appear to be taken by individuals while Holiday’s are given by the US government. The US Department of Labor website explaining the history of the US Labor Day does not cite pre-existing “Labour days” in other countries or any international level recognition of the value of labour to society. Wikipedia has 2 entires on Labour days one for North America (September) and one for the rest of the world (Labour, May 1st). The rest of the world entry does include Canada Labour day, British spelling, US compatible date.
“A Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.”
“The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City. They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen’s Association favored a May 1 holiday. With the event of Chicago’s Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day”
One indicator of labour’s health and value, work-life balance, does not look positive within the US compared to other Nations represented by the United Nations. PNR reports that:
US companies are perceived as being responsible for an increasingly poor work-life balance… …the U.S. ranks as one of the highest in average annual hours worked per person, a rank that has remained virtually unchanged since 1990, according to statistics from the International Labor Organization at the United Nations.
This fits with my personal experience and appears to influence the whole fluffy notion of ‘way of life’ here in the US. They are Free to work their sox off and employ services to maximise the efficiency of their limited ‘life’ time out of work (Nanny’s, cleaners, dishwashers, plummers, house-painters, Kitchen remodellers, personal trainers, gyms…..).