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The Rich History of Labor Day

Date Published: September 03, 2021 | Last Updated:September 15, 2023 | By Accurate Background
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For many, Labor Day merely represents a long weekend in September. An opportunity to spend extended time with family and friends at the beach, in the mountains, or other preferred vacation destination. But there is a lot more to the meaning of Labor Day and its importance in our society. This national holiday has a rich history rooted in celebrating America’s workers, and their contributions to fortify the pillars of strength and prosperity that are bedrocks of our country.

Labor Day’s History

The origin of Labor Day can be traced back to the late 1800’s; a transformational period for our country that saw great strides in industrial innovation, and the evolution of our country into a modern power. Many labor activists at the time believed it was critically important to celebrate and recognize the impact of America’s workforce on the foundation of the country. Yet, while most of the 19th century was a period of rapid expansion and output of produced goods, it is not looked back on in a positive light for workers’ rights. The emphasis on rapid production saw many workers spending all day in factories with very little protections in place for their health and employment security. Labor activists of the day sought to change that.

After much campaigning for workers’ rights, more and more states supported a federally recognized Labor Day celebration. In February of 1887, Oregon became the first state to recognize Labor Day for its citizens. More states quickly followed, including Colorado, New York and more. By 1894 a total of 23 states had Labor Day penciled in on their calendars. Finally, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Labor activists secured a major milestone in the protections and appreciation of our workforce.

The Contemporary Labor Day

At the time of its inception, Labor Day was a victory in marking a change in elevating how workers across the country were viewed and treated. There are many parallels in today’s climate, as we’ve seen Covid-19 dramatically alter the traditional workforce model, and many workforce policies are rapidly evolving to support greater flexibility, support and accommodation. Since 2020, many employees have operated entirely remotely, a massive shift in how companies operate. Similar to the great industrialization and workforce of the late 19th century, we are now seeing a rapid change to how work is viewed by both employers and employees. Where and how employees do their jobs appears to have been completely altered in the wake of this pandemic. Not only that, we are also living in a year where job candidates have much more negotiating power in their wages and geographic location. Service industries like retail are seeing a mass exodus as workers evaluate their careers and life trajectories.

It’s clear that our current workforce model continues to rapidly evolve. This Labor Day marks a turning point for our country and the workers that make our society function. At Accurate, we appreciate and value the contributions of our employees and workers across the country, and we look forward to celebrating these accomplishments come the first Monday of September.

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