President Grover Cleveland:
The Pullman Connection
President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a
national holiday. But his intentions behind this
declaration were not so pure.
In 1894, nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman railway company started a strike in
response to reduced wages. Boycotts, riots, and sabotage ensued; 30 people were killed across
the country, and an estimated $80 million in
damages was incurred. President Cleveland
eventually called in the Army to bust up the strikers. Six days later, on June 28, he rushed
legislation through Congress to declare
Labor Day a national holiday as a conciliation.
Interesting Jobs that don’t exist in America
Many teens make some extra cash by babysitting their neighbors’ kids, but what if you could make
a living babysitting ostriches instead? In South
Africa, ostrich farms hire people to watch over
their birds. Ostriches can be very aggressive and territorial, so ostrich babysitters must be
vigilant and protect the babies that
can’t defend themselves.
Instead of fishing for, well, fish, people in
Amsterdam can get paid to fish for bicycles. The city is one of the most bike-friendly in the world, with people relying more on the two-wheeler than cars. For one reason or another, many
bicycles find themselves at the bottom of
Amsterdam’s waterways and canals throughout the year, creating quite the odd job opportunity.
Oshiya is Japanese for “people-pushers” or “train-pushers.” They earn their keep by packing as many commuters into train cars as they can. Densely populated Japanese cities, like Tokyo, have trains that are even more crowded than a New York City subway. To ensure the highest level of efficiency during rush hour, Oshiya play
a human version of Tetris to get as many
people on board as possible.
People don’t always take kindly to cops telling them what to do, but it’s hard to say ‘no’ to a zebra. That, at least, is the thought process behind Bolivia’s traffic zebra operation. People dress up in zebra costumes as they help guide traffic and enforce traffic laws. Basically, it’s like being a mascot for road signs.
It sounds like something out of Game of Thrones, but this job sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. The groundskeepers at the Tower of London are charged with taking care of the ravens that hang out there, as it is traditionally believed that
ravens offer protection for The Crown.
— Reader’s Digest, rd.com.
“BACON IS A VEGETABLE”
International Bacon Day falls on the Saturday
before Labor Day every year. This unofficial
(but recommended) celebration of meat is best celebrated via bacon-themed meals, desserts,
and even drinks. The holiday’s motto:
While not as popular as Labor Day, some
religious groups recognize the Sunday before
Labor Day as Labor Sunday. It was first organized in 1909 by the American Federation of Labor as a day to reflect on “the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement,” according to
the U.S. Department of Labor. Today, churches
celebrate it as a day to lift up workers and reaffirm their commitment to improving job conditions and advocating for justice in the workforce.
DID YOU KNOW?
Canada celebrated Labor Day
before the United States
The first Canadian Labor Day—rather, Labour Day—was in 1872, ten years before the Americans caught on. Printers in Toronto began lobbying their employers for a shorter work week. Their employers did nothing, so they began a strike on March 25, 1872. On April 14 that same year, two thousand workers marched in solidarity of the strikers; by the time they reached their destination, the group
had grown to 10,000, one-tenth of the
NO WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY??
Ever wonder why you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day? The tradition goes back to the end of the Civil War, when society was ruled by the wealthy wives of old-money elites. As more new-money millionaires entered society, the jealous old regime invented a whole suite of arbitrary fashion rules that only those in the in-crowd would know. Anyone who showed up to an autumn dinner party in a white dress, for example, would be instantly outed as a nouveau riche newbie. That tradition of not wearing white past summer has since trickled down through fashion magazines and into mainstream culture… even for those of us whose ideal dinner party garb is sweatpants. The good news is, most fashion experts agree that there’s no need to follow this elitist rule today.
McGuire v. Maguire: Who Founded Labor Day?
Who first proposed the holiday for workers? It’s not entirely clear, but two workers can make a solid claim to the Founder of Labor Day title.
Some records show that in 1882, Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, suggested setting aside a day for a “general holiday for the laboring classes” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that machinist Matthew Maguire, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.
Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Cleveland signed the law creating a national Labor Day, the Paterson Morning Call published an opinion piece stating that “the souvenir pen should go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is the undisputed author of Labor Day as a holiday.” Both Maguire and McGuire attended the country’s first Labor Day parade in New York City that year.
Courtesy of Department of Labor, www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history