Celebrating Labor Day!

This year Labor Day will be observed on September 5, 2022, the first Monday in September. This Federal holiday is designated to celebrate American workers’ social and economic achievements. Though New York was the first to introduce a bill, Oregon passed the first law recognizing Labor Day on February 21, 1887. It wasn’t until June 28, 1894, that Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

In 1894, when Congress passed the act making the holiday, the hourly wage was $2.49 ¼, though, by 1898, the hourly wage declined and was $2.43 ¼. If one was a blacksmith in 1887, the average wage was $2.49 ¼ an hour, whereas their helper averaged $1.50 an hour. Though railroad engineers averaged the most money at $4.35 ¾ an hour, the firemen with the railroad averaged $2.27 ¼ an hour to risk their lives for others. In 1897 one could rent a six-room tenement for $2.62 a month. In addition, men were required to pay $1.52 a month for board, whereas women were required to pay $1.92 a month for the same board services.

So as September 5th arrives, appreciate that many changes have been implemented over the last one hundred and twenty-eight years. Remember, we are no longer required to work 12-hour days, seven days a week. Our children no longer work in mills, factories, or mines across the country. As this might mark the end of summer for many, others will celebrate with parties, street parades, or athletic events; this is a day for celebration by all. 

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