For most people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and a chance to say goodbye to the summer. But why is it called Labor Day?
In North America, Labor Day, a national holiday, always falls on the first Monday in September. This year (2018) Labor Day is Monday, September 3. Labor Day is also celebrated on this day in Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands.
The day is set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. Labor Day weekend is also considered the unofficial end of summer.
In European countries, China and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions.
What's your knowledge of Labor Day?
To test your knowledge of Labor Day, respond T (True) or F (False):
1. Labor Day is the affirmation of the dignity and worth of workers.
2. Labor Day began in Canada in 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organised the first significant workers' demonstration to support exploited workers.
3. In the US, the first Labor Day, held in 1883, stemmed from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a workers' holiday.
4. Many view Labor Day as a day of rest, the end of summer, a last chance to make trips or hold outdoor events.
5. A trade or labor union is an association of workers whose purpose is to improve economic status and working conditions primarily through collective bargaining.
6. The term "closed shop" refers to company that hires only union members.
7. Elton Mayo's research in the 1930s demonstrated that workers were more motivated by recognition and social interaction than by material rewards.
8. Historically, labor unions developed in response to the need to protect the common interest of workers/
9. In the process of collective bargaining, an employer agrees to discuss working conditions with employee representatives usually a labor union.
1. True. Labor Day is the affirmation of the dignity and worth of workers. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of North American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our nations.
2. True. Labor Day began in Canada in 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organised the first significant workers' demonstration to support exploited workers.
3. True. In the US, the first Labor Day, held in 1883, stemmed from the desire oh the Central Labor Union to create a workers' holiday.
4. True. Many view Labor Day as a day of rest, the end of summer, a last chance to make trips or hold outdoor events. In some communities, people organize fireworks displays, barbecues and public arts or sports events.
5. True. A trade or labor union is an association of workers whose purpose is to improve economic status and working conditions primarily through collective bargaining
6. True. The term "closed shop" refers to company that hires only union members. A closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.
International Labor covenants do not address the legality of closed shop provisions, leaving the question up to each individual nation. The legal status of closed shop agreements varies widely from country to country, ranging from bans on the agreement, to extensive regulation of the agreement to not mentioning it at all.
7. True. Elton Mayo's research in the 1930s demonstrated (The Hawthorne Experiments) that workers were more motivated by recognition and social interaction than by material rewards. Companies subsequently introduced various incentives to increase employee motivation and productivity.
8. True. The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.
9. True. Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more. Collective bargaining is a way to solve workplace problems. It is also the best means for raising wages in America. Indeed, through collective bargaining, working people in unions have higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces.
Ongoing technological, economic, and social changes are forcing us to continue to reassess our views of the meaning and structure of work. Ways in which we honor the dignity and worth of workers may also be modified.
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