Sunday, September 02, 2007

Manic Monday - Labour/Labor

Manic Monday

Hello and welcome to Manic Monday.
The word Mo (It's A Blog Eat Blog World) chose for us to post about is labor or labour.

This word is spelled labor in the USA, while being spelled labour here in Canada. Many words are like this between USA & Canada, so can be confusing.

Labour Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers.

The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day.

Labour Day in Canada

Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labour Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world. Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the Canadian labour movements with internationalist sympathies. Another major reason for keeping the current September date is that the United States celebrates its Labor Day on the same day. Synchronizing the holiday reduces possible inconvenience for businesses with major operations on both sides of the border.

The origins of Labour in Canada can be traced back to a printer's revolt in 1872 in Toronto, where labourers tried to establish a 54-hour work week. At that time, any union activity was considered illegal and the organizers were jailed, at the behest of George Brown. Protest marches of over 10,000 workers were formed in response, which eventually led to Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald repealing the anti-union laws and arranging the release of the organizers as well.

The fight of the Toronto printers had a second, lasting legacy. The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printers' strike led to an annual celebration. In 1882 American labour leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labour festivals in Toronto. Returning to the United States, Peter McGuire along with the Knights of Labor organized a similar parade on September 5, 1882 in New York City. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labour organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association, many of whom were socialists or anarchists, favoured a May 1 holiday. With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labour Day. The date was adopted in Canada in 1894 by the government of Prime Minister John Thompson. Socialist delegates in Paris in 1889 appointed May 1 as the official International Labour Day. (See May Day).

While Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, many Canadians simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. At the time when schools started after Labour Day, families with school-age children used to take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after.

An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labour Day. The explanations for this tradition range from the fact that white clothes are worse protection against cold weather in the winter to the fact that the rule was intended as a status symbol for new members of the middle class in the late 19th century and early 20th century.[2] [3]

A Labour Day tradition in Canada is the Labour Day Classic, a Canadian Football League event where rivals like Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and sometimes the Ottawa team and the Montreal Alouettes when Ottawa is in the league play on Labour Day weekend.

If you are interested Wikipedia has lots to say about Labour Day in other countries of the world.


tegdirb92 said...

wow--I didn't know a lot of those things!! Thanks for that informative post. Have a great Monday!

Jamie said...

That was fascinating. We know so little of Canada and its customs which is a shame.

Gattina said...

Very interesting ! We celebrate on May 1 as all Europeans.

Jersey - The Furry Diva said...

Happy Labor Day, Miss Alice!

Do I smell BBQ???

Sanni said...

Happy Labor Day, Alice!

We "celebrate" - better to say some of us demonstrate on May, 1st.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

thanks for the information!

smiles, bee

Morgen said...

Dang, that's alotta links!
I love the bit about labor & labour.
mo (or as they say in Canada = mou)


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Isn't Wikipedia all that and a bag of chips? Great history lesson here. Have a great MM and Labour day. :)

crazy working mom said...

I had a very enjoyable long holiday weekend. The boss let me off Friday as well. Now I sure don't want to go back to work tomorrow.