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Workers are the backbone of American society. For this reason, we celebrate Labor Day. It is a day to recognize the contribution made by each employee forged from the struggles of those that came before us. Banyan’s military rehab center explores the history of this holiday, when is Labor Day Weekend, and why we celebrate it.
The history of the American worker is not an easy one. The late 1800s saw the height of the industrial revolution, a time wrought with unsafe working conditions and minimal restrictions. The average American worker would work seven days a week and as many as 12 hours a day.
Even children as young as 5 were expected to perform jobs just as dangerous as their elders, but with a fraction of the pay. This highlighted the blaring inequalities that poor workers were subjected to, sparking the beginning of a movement that would change our country as we knew it.
As people caught wind of these unfair conditions, labor unions began popping up all around the country. The first Labor Day Parade took place on September 5, 1882, when 10,000 laborers marched the streets of New York in protest. Violent events like 1886’s Haymarket Riot highlighted a period of resistance and violence leading up to the formation of labor unions in other major cities. Massive unrest would persist until June 28, 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed an act pronouncing Labor Day as a national holiday into law.
You may be wondering when Labor Day weekend is this year. It is always observed on the first Monday in September, and this year it is taking place on Monday, September 5th. Some will spend it relaxing, while others will choose to participate in their own communities’ celebrations. The beauty is in having the ability to choose through our freedom and hard work.
As the struggles of Americans persist today, it is easy to get lost in the cycle of our jobs. The concept of “work-life balance” is a modern psychological concept that is beginning to gain widespread notoriety, placing emphasis on workers’ mental health.
Labor Day is a symbol of our privilege to be able to discuss such a topic, one which 100 years ago would be considered laughable. The hard work needed to get the job done should never be disregarded, for it is through this perseverance that incredible progress is made. But at the end of the day, we need to treat the people tasked with doing these jobs with the respect and care that they deserve.
We continue to witness the uprising of unions across America today. It is worth noting the key issues that modern Americans struggle with, especially with the impact of mental health becoming more widely accepted. A blaring example of this is in our veterans, people that put their lives on the line only to come home to a country that many feel does not properly support them.
Military personnel and veterans are an integral part of the labor force. A 2015 study showed that 1 in 15 veterans had a substance abuse disorder that year.1 Banyan offers military addiction treatment options designed to support those who have served this country and its workers.
Call Banyan at 888-280-4763 for more information on our Military and Veterans in Recovery program and our veterans addiction treatment centers.
SAMHSA - Substance use disorder among veterans aged 17 or older