WTF is Labor Day and Why Am I Working Today?

Are you working this Labor Day?  Yep.  Me too.  If you aren’t, I salute you.  Grill up a veggie burger and pour one out for me.  😉

For those who are working – you get a double salute…and not the fingers up bad kind.  

Have you ever asked what the meaning of this whole day off (that I’m not taking off) is??  I did. Here it is in a nutshell…

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Interesting.  But we can go a little deeper…here’s my quick breakdown of events:

In the late 1800’s working conditions weren’t as cushy as they are today.  Long hours for little pay was all the trend.  Young children were a common source of manual labor – so bad.  😦  Others must have thought so too because people began to commiserate and the first unions were created to give all laborers regulations in working conditions.  Pickets and strikes were organized and on September 5, 1882, the first unofficial Labor Day Parade marched the streets of New York City 10,000 strong.  Years later, Chicago began what would become the strike that broke the camels back.  When good ol’ George Pullman decided to cut wages for his company (they built sleeper train cars), his 4000 workers began a strike against the railroads that would eventually swell to 250,000 strong across 25 states.  Not cool.  The Army was beckoned to break up riots and attempt to recover order which it eventually did.  On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday and now we take the first Monday of September off to eat hot dogs and visit the beach one last time before fall.  The end.

Cool.  Who doesn’t love a bit of history on their day off?

Anywho, unions are great and were necessary at the time.  I am a unionized employee…but Labor Day is not a guaranteed day off in my case.  In many cases!  Imagine what would happen if everyone took labor day off??  Let’s look at the chaos that would unfold:

No taxis to get you to the airport for your 3-day weekend trip.  But that doesn’t matter because there are no plains or trains to take you anywhere.  Need to get to a wedding…or funeral?  The pilots, flight crews (me!), and/or engineers are at the beach.  Bummer…

But what if you’re already at the beach?

The weather is nice, the water is warm, your family isn’t bickering – life is good.  And then it’s not.  Suzy steps on a piece of glass in the sand and runs towards you wailing.  There are no lifeguards in sight because they are all off for the holiday.  No 911 to call – they’re having a BBQ.  The car is parked about a mile away (holiday beach parking sucks) and again, no taxis.  You decide to run with her in your arms the mile to your car.  When you get there you realize you are low on gas but you can’t fill up because the gas stations are closed.  You begin the drive to the emergency room then realize there is no emergency room to go to.  Hospital is closed.  Perhaps you can stitch it up yourself with a needle and thread?  Walgreens, Walmart, Wally World…all closed.  This holiday has definitely taken a turn for the worst…  

Labor day has become absolute chaos because, guess what, you aren’t the only one in need of these things.  Besides Suzy’s foot, there are emergencies happening all around you.  Bee stings to the allergic, broken arms and legs, heart attacks and strokes.  So many unexpected health issues and the hospital is closed!!

Wow.  That’s some dark shit.  How’s about dome doggy humor?



Thankfully – the above scenario isn’t the case.  I am in San Francisco as I write, about to start my day of labor.  In a few hours time, I’ll be heading to Chicago to take 143 passengers home from their vacations, weddings…and yes, funerals.  They will be able to take taxis to the airport.  They can even buy food when they get there for the long flight cross country.  Should they forget something on their way, they can stop at Walgreen’s to grab it.  Should something happen to them en route to the airport, they can call and cancel their flight.  They can change directions and go where they need to.  It may be a day off for them, but it’s a normal workday for many.

And I am not complaining.  I am stoked and extremely grateful that some flight attendant (probably with beach plans) decided to give up their trip so I could have an 18-hour layover in San Francisco.  Yesterday I spent my afternoon eating a lobster roll alongside some crab nachos, washed down with a nice cold beer, and followed with a long walk along the waterside geocaching while watching the planes take off and land.  It was a perfect afternoon – and I was paid to be here!  Bonus!!

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So much better than a BBQ…   Thanks, New England Lobster Market and Eatery!

Those of you out enjoying the day (or flying back home with me) do your best to be kind to those working around you.  They may not have the ability to take off.  Or, like me, they may not have wanted to.  But, regardless, the faces working today are those who are in jobs of necessity to make our little world operate in the order we have become accustomed to.

Strangely enough, some jobs that get paid big bucks to work will be taking the day off.  Here is a list of places not to go today – they are closed:

Banks: Most if not all banks are expected to be closed, though you should check with your specific financial institution to be sure.

Courts: State and local courts are closed.

Department of Motor Vehicles: All DMV offices are closed

Federal Offices: All federal offices (like IRS etc,) are closed

Libraries: Check with your local establishment, but all are expected to be closed on Monday

Municipal Offices: Municipal offices are expected to be closed

Post Office: All U.S. Post Offices are closed, and mail service is suspended for the day

Sanitation Department: Sanitation services and garbage collection is suspended

Schools: All schools are closed

State Offices: State offices should be closed

U.S. Stock Market: Financial markets are closed

To those of you working today – besides my double salute – I would like to say THANK YOU for all that you do.  You are appreciated.

Until next time…


4 thoughts on “WTF is Labor Day and Why Am I Working Today?

  1. Thanks for all of the background behind Labor Day. As an Australian I didn’t know much about it, and I went to work on Labor Day 🙂

    Nice food, it’s nice to have a good holiday sometimes. Thanks to everyone that does work during public holidays, society wouldn’t function properly without you.



    1. Yes!! Everyone was tired so they were all amazing. And the great news is we got home 30 min early. Already lounging in the grass with Bubs. Life is good and I’m a few bucks ahead in the month. Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂


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