On Monday, Sept. 2, people all across our great nation will celebrate Labor Day, a public holiday honoring the service of workers throughout history. It is a time for many of us to take a break, enjoy a long weekend and be thankful for family, friends and other loved ones. It is also a time for us to remember the importance of those hardworking Americans who, through determination and perseverance, keep our country running every day.
Labor Day ascended from a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. In the late 19th century, the United States was at the height of the Industrial Revolution. New technologies, such as the power loom and steam engine, made it easier to mass-produce goods. It became easier to travel long distances, and what was once a largely agrarian society began to slowly shift toward an increasingly commercial marketplace.
But, along with the good, came some of the bad. New machinery resulted in the creation of large factories full of people struggling under inhumane hours. For a while, child labor was widespread. People advocated for more pay and better conditions. After years of effort, they succeeded.
The first recorded celebration of Labor Day was on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. Gradually, several other cities and states started to institute their own labor holidays. Soon, Congress started to take notice. In 1884, Congress passed a law declaring the first Monday in September of each year a nationally-recognized holiday — a tradition that remains to this day.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is 573-751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Dan Hegeman is the 12th District State Senator.