Fly your flag for labor today: Labor Day 2009


Labor Day, 2009

Fly your U.S. flag today. This is one of the dates designated in law as a permanent date for flag flying.

Miners and their children celebrate Labor Day, Littleton, Colorado, 1940 - Library of CongressMiners and their children celebrate Labor Day, Littleton, Colorado, 1940 – Library of Congress

Here are some past posts on labor, and Labor Day:

History-minded people may want to look at the history of the holiday, such as the history told at the Department of Labor’s website.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Or this history at the more academic Library of Congress site:

On September 5, 1882, some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America’s first Labor Day parade. After marching from City Hall to Union Square, the workers and their families gathered in Reservoir Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. This first Labor Day celebration was initiated by Peter J. McGuire, a carpenter and labor union leader who a year earlier cofounded the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, a precursor of the American Federation of Labor.

McGuire had proposed his idea for a holiday honoring American workers at a labor meeting in early 1882. New York’s Central Labor Union quickly approved his proposal and began planning events for the second Tuesday in September. McGuire had suggested a September date in order to provide a break during the long stretch between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. While the first Labor Day was held on a Tuesday, the holiday was soon moved to the first Monday in September, the date we continue to honor.

American Memories at the Library of Congress has several photos of Labor Day celebrations in Colorado, in the mining country.

What do the unions say?  Among other parts of history, the AFL-CIO site has a biography of Walter Reuther, the legendary organizer of automobile factory workersSeptember 1 is the anniversary of Reuther’s birthday (he died in an airplane crash on the way to a union training site, May 10, 1970).

We’re glad to have the day off.  Working people made this nation, and this world, what it is today.  We should honor them every day — take a few minutes today, give honor to workers.  Tomorrow, it’s back to work.

Resources:

Below the fold:  Statistics about working Americans, from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Urge others to fly their flags for working people, too:

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Labor Day 2009: Sept. 7

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a “Labor Day” on one day or another, and Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Who Are We Celebrating?

  • 155.1 million

Number of people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force in May 2009.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>

Employee Benefits

  • 83%

Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2007.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/012528.html>

  • 77%

Percentage of workers in private industry who receive a paid vacation as one of their employment benefits.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 634 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Our Jobs

Americans work in a variety of occupations. Here is a sampling:

Occupation
Number of employees
Teachers
7.2 million
Chief executives
1.7 million
Janitors and building cleaners
2.1 million
Computer software engineers
1.0 million
Aerospace engineers
137,000
Electricians
874,000
Registered nurses
2.8 million
Social workers
729,000
Clergy
441,000
Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists
773,000
Chefs and head cooks
351,000
Customer service representatives
1.9 million
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
373,000
Firefighters
293,000
Roofers
234,000
Pharmacists
243,000
Machinists
409,000
Musicians, singers and related workers
186,000
Artists and related workers
213,000
Gaming services workers (gambling)
111,000
Tax preparers
105,000
Service station attendants
87,000
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers
751,000
Welding, soldering and brazing workers
598,000
Farmers and ranchers
751,000

Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 603
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 7.7 million

Number of workers who hold down more than one job. So-called moonlighters comprise 5 percent of the working population. Of these, 4 million work full time at their primary job and part time at their other job.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 589 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 288,000

When do they sleep? Number of moonlighters who work full time at two jobs.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 589 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 10.4 million

Number of self-employed workers.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 585 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 22.5 million

Number of female workers 16 and older in educational services, and health care and social assistance industries. Among male workers 16 and older, 11.3 million were employed in manufacturing industries.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

  • 28%

Percentage of workers 16 and older who work more than 40 hours a week. Eight percent work 60 or more hours a week.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 582 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 4

Median number of years workers have been with their current employer. About 9 percent of those employed have been with their current employer for 20 or more years.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 591 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 10.3 million

Number of independent contractors.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 588 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • 15.7 million

Number of labor union members nationwide. About 12 percent of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with Alaska, Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates, 3 percent.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 644 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

  • -10.8%

Percentage decline in employment in Elkhart County, Ind., between September 2007 and September 2008, the largest percentage decline among the nation’s 334 largest counties. Maricopa, Ariz., posted the largest numerical job loss over the period: 67,100.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

  • 3.2%

Percentage increase in employment in Yakima County, Wash., between September 2007 and September 2008, the largest percentage increase among the nation’s 334 largest counties. Harris, Texas, posted the largest numerical job gain over the period: 26,500.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

  • 5.7 million

The number of people who work at home.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

Another Day, Another Dollar

  • $45,113 and $35,102

The 2007 annual median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/012528.html>

  • $1,552

Average weekly wage in New York County (Manhattan), N.Y., for the third quarter of 2008, the highest among the nation’s 334 largest counties. Rutherford, Tenn., led the nation in growth of average weekly wages the third quarters of 2007 to 2008, with an increase of 17 percent ($124).
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

Hot Jobs

  • 53%

Projected percentage growth from 2006 to 2016 in the number of network systems and data communication analysts. Forecasters expect this occupation to grow at a faster rate than any other. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add more positions over this period than any other is registered nurses (587,000).
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 598 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Early, Lonely and Long — the Commute to Work

  • 17 million

Number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. These early birds represent 13 percent of all commuters.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

  • 76%

Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 10 percent carpool, and 5 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

  • 31.5 minutes

The average time it takes to commute to work for residents of New York state. New York residents had the most time-consuming commute in the nation, followed by that of Maryland residents with 31.1 minutes. The national average was 25.3 minutes.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

  • 3.4 million

Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

  • 52%

Percentage of workers 16 and older living in Virginia who worked and lived in different counties, the highest rate in the nation.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/users_guide/index.htm>

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5 Responses to Fly your flag for labor today: Labor Day 2009

  1. [...] Labor Day history post from 2009 [...]

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks, Victor. Be sure to follow the Flag Code.

    Like

  3. Victoria P. Sekera says:

    My flag has been flying every day this year, and so has the flag at my son and his family’s home. We love our country and are proud Americans; as was taught us by our grandparents and parents. We are born-again Christians as well.

    Like

  4. AF says:

    I’ve been having a lot of fun googling terms like “Central Labor Union” in the New York Times archives… turning up all sorts of interesting and colorful articles about the earliest Labor Day parades and the preparations and the inter-union squabbling that occured:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Central+Labor+Union+parade+site%3Aquery.nytimes.com&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADBR

    My favorite find was an article from 1884 about the parade and how after some political disagreements “A long-winded resolution was adopted after the regular hour for debate had closed, requesting all members who, in the heat and excitement of debate on the Butler manifestation, had used improper language to apologize to one another and to the meeting”

    Resolutions to apologize! I love it!

    Like

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