Updated: Sep 20
By: Reagan Williams
“Our movement is of the working people, for the working people, by the working people. . . There is not a right too long denied to which we do not aspire in order to achieve; there is not a wrong too long endured that we are not determined to abolish.”
-Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL)
Many businesses and Americans are looking at this year’s upcoming Labor Day holiday as the benchmark for companies transitioning their respective workforce from working remotely to working onsite. Companies have begun integrating their employees back onsite from various industries. Media companies began after the fourth of July holiday. While companies like Wells Fargo have outlined plans in phases for workers to return. Some states like New York are marking this day for state workers to be vaccinated before their return. However, there are companies who are still trying to navigate how to bring employees back to the office, since some Americans have been working from home during the pandemic. This summer has had remnants of normalcy of life before COVID-19; but Labor Day 2021 will be intriguing as people are scheduled to return to work after the country deals with spikes in the Delta Variant.
Typically, Labor Day marks the end of the summer season and the marker of fall soon approaching. Historically, Labor Day is associated with parades, political speeches and labor union activities. The origins of Labor Day stemmed from growing discontent over miserable working conditions in the late 19th century. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was associated with 12 hour work days, where children were used for cheap labor and the emergence of sweatshops having workers confined to small spaces with people being punished for socializing or singing.
During the 1860s and 1870s, strikes and rallies were taking place as people united to fight for better working conditions and recognition for their work in the U.S. and Canada. The first Labor Day began on September 5,1882 in New York City as union leaders organized the country’s first Labor Day parade. President Cleveland signed the holiday into law on June 28, 1894 to be observed as the first Monday of September.
Recently, the purpose of Labor Day and the messaging has changed with the help of social media, television and the internet with messaging being delivered in homes versus large gatherings that risk public safety. Despite Labor Day being focused on the American worker, and the nation’s strength, most people look forward to it as an opportunity to celebrate the last weekend of summer. This holiday is a reprieve for people to rest, relax, watch fireworks, attend picnics and cookouts, go on mini vacations and go shopping. Each state has different activities for wellness retreats, road trips and a quick getaway if you are looking for one. If you haven’t had the chance to travel anywhere, a road trip might be a good option. The only limit to a road trip is you and your imagination. There are specific places where you can take daytrips, across the country in every state to explore and have fun with friends and family. A day trip is a great way to take in some fresh air, stop for some activities, and help your own physical and emotional well-being.
If you aren’t traveling and just want to enjoy the time off before you might have to “physically re-enter” the office, you can find activities to do at home. One thing you can do is indulge in self-care and relaxation. Sometimes a long-weekend is a great time to do nothing. It is an excellent opportunity to live without a schedule for a few days. A person can use this opportunity to do an activity they wouldn’t normally have time to do such as cooking or a home project. For instance, try out some DIY projects. Lastly, if you want to ditch your electronic devices for a while, head outside and play a game with family and friends such as cornhole, backyard bowling or make your own obstacle course.
Labor Day honors a major achievement of the American labor movement, no matter how you decide to spend the day.
Happy Labor Day Milkmates and enjoy 2021’s first Monday in September!
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