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Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:22 PM

Celebrating Labor in America

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on September 2, 2013 - 9:58am

If today you are sitting on the patio preparing for a family and friends cookout you might pause a moment and give thought to what Labor Day means to our country.

Made official by Congress in 1894 the first Monday in September is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Our shared labor has led to the greatness of our country and today is but a fleeting moment honoring our people who work so hard. We must be strong in our support of labor and to ensure the safety of our work place and the industrial process. As Sinclair Lewis wrote in “The Jungle” the unbridled authority of the corporation must be kept in check so that profit does not come without regard to people.

So, enjoy your day off and give thanks to the efforts of labor in America.


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Source: http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/dr-brian-carr/2013-09-02/celebrating-labor-america

Cross-posted in Good Reads forum.

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