Labor Day – What it’s All About

According to Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor “Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.” Well, go figure – somebody must have really liked hot dogs back then. Though I must say that I part ways with Mr. Gompers about the other holidays…I see no mention of celebrating freedom, independence and love of country – but that’s another post.

Apparently, Labor Day, which falls on the first Monday in September, is in honor of the social and economic achievements of American workers – a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Okay, let’s hear it for all those blue collars out there. How cool is that? We got our own holiday. One for the working stiffs. Yay!

Rumor has it though, there is still some doubt on who exactly proposed the worker’s holiday. Some believe it was Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners while others believe it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who founded the holiday. Personally, I don’t care – I get a three day weekend, barbecue and sometimes even a parade. Works for me.

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City – well natch – in 1882. And apparently the rest of the states were quite jealous of this and started following suit the next year, reasoning that three day weekends, barbecues and parades should be shared equally among all Americans. So, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc., etc. jumped on the band wagon and by 1894 pretty much all the states were doing it. By that time, some stuffy dude in Washington proposed it as an official holiday – and of course, since politicians really like to take time off with pay, they all agreed.

So that, boys and girls, is how Labor Day came about. Why we get the three day weekend, hot dogs, fireworks and parades. Why we party like we’re sixteen, eat too much, drink too much and take road trips to lakes, rivers and RV parks. We are reveling in the sweat of our collective brow. Swelling with pride about our contributions to the well-oiled machine of the good ol’ U S of A. Well, sorta…I probably left out some facts…in fact, I’m sure I did…but the coals are ready and I gotta go.


Awesome Cole Slaw – Recipe

1 bag of cole slaw mix (or chop up your own cabbage if you want)

1 small can of pineapple chunks

1 small tart green apple – chopped

1/2 cup of mayo

1/4 cup of lemon juice

3 TBS of sugar (or splenda or sweetner of your choice)

In a large bowl, beat mayo, juice from pineapple, lemon juice and sweetner until smooth. Add slaw mix, pineapple chunks and chopped apple, toss until thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate for two hours. Stir before serving.

Try it, it’s yummy! And goes great with barbecue! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Labor Day – What it’s All About

  1. Very interesting post.
    And I agree, I’m not really concerned about the “why” of the holiday as long as I get it off.
    (the holiday, too…wink,wink)
    Recipe looks really wonderful but my Tortellini salad with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts is already made and the sausages are about to go on the grill. Maybe next Labor Day.
    Talk to you later, kiddo…


    LOL. Yes the slaw is delicious but you don’t have to wait for a barbecue to have it. Funny, with all that Irish blood coursing thru your veins, your menus always sound Italian to me. 😉



  2. And to think, all I did to celebrate my hard work and that of my hardworking brothers/sisters, was to sit on my fatass all day and do nothing….But I will keep the receipe for coleslaw thanks!!

    Well that’s the point honey, we get to sit on our fatasses cuz someone made us a holiday. Cool, huh? And you’ll love the slaw. Yummy, I just made a batch.



  3. mmmmmmmmmm YUM…. I will have 2 try that!
    I luv slaw…

    Holidays were such a big thing when I was younger— now it just seems like another day—–

    But Thank God–It’s a day Off!!!


    I know what you mean SB. When I was a kid I would get so excited about holidays that I practically wet my pants. LOL. Now, it’s more like – ‘oh good, I can sleep in today.’

    Try the slaw recipe – it’s deeelicious.



  4. BTW….does anyone else get paid for this day off? I DON’T!! And it would seem fitting to me, since we are celebrating the American Worker and his/her toils, to pay us for the day! Revolt I tell ya, revolt!

    LOL! sound the trumpets and revolt! Everybody follow Billie! 🙂



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