Labor Day traditionally signals the end of summer, the beginning of school and the start of the political season. This Labor Day, Nebraskan families will unite in backyards and public parks across the nation to enjoy one another’s company. That is as it should be, but there is something important missing.
Too few of us know the holiday’s history. New York City first celebrated Labor Day in 1882, a time when our nation’s industrial production was overtaking agriculture as the driver of the American economy. By the first federal celebration of Labor Day in 1894, 30 states were already celebrating this holiday. Put in its proper context, Labor Day is a celebration of the many contributions organized labor has made to expanding democracy, humanizing the employer/employee relationship and improving our national standard of living. After all, Labor Day is the nation’s only holiday dedicated to everyday wage earners: the people who built this great nation and who make it run each and every day.