Prior to Tuesday September 5, 1882, a typical workday for the average American construction worker lasted 12 hours and the work week extended the entire seven days. Thanks to the collective opinion of a multitude of voices brave enough to put their foot down, the tradition of a national “day off” was formed for all American workers. It was also discovered that allowing more time away from their job provided more time for them to spend the money they earned. As individuals worked less hours, the economy grew.
It’s a split decision over who founded the national holiday. A large portion of the population believe it was Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others attribute it to machinist, Mathew Maguire. Though disagreement remains on the origin of the holiday, it is a widely known fact that our very own home state of Oregon approved the state bill into law on February 21, 1887, becoming the very first state to do so. More states followed suit, until finally, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in honor of the American worker.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, Labor Day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”
This yearly national tribute was originally planned to include a parade, followed by a festival, and complete with speeches from prominent members of society. Though these initial plans have changed over the past 130 years, it still remains a celebrated day of rest, a day of play, a time to take a breath and enjoy the world around you outside of the demands of work. The entire work force may not be able to cease working for this day, yet it’s important to recognize and be grateful for each person’s contribution to the community and our nation as a whole.
Our country’s workers pride themselves on achievement, results and working hard. They give their all and often have little time for themselves. “Work hard, play hard” often means “Work hard, play if you can find the time”.
In order to maintain optimum efficacy in the workplace, our workers need to be tending to their mental and emotional health. Working hard is important, but so is rest.
This Labor Day, Perlo would like to extend a giant thank you to our employees. The talent we have includes a variety of trades and skills, and our people are, without question, the best in the industry. We appreciate the work you do each day, the buildings you help build, the communities you foster and the economy you support.
Be safe, be healthy, enjoy your time with family this weekend. And know that we salute you!