A brief history of Labor Day

3 Sep

I teach English (as a Second Language, ESL). I was discussing Labor Day with a group of Chinese students (grad and undergrad) last week and we were talking about Labor Day versus International Workers Day (May 1st aka May Day, which we don’t celebrate, but most other countries do). This led into a discussion of Labor Unions and strikes. For the record, the students couldn’t remember a time when Chinese workers ever struck, but they did say the standard work week is 40 hours, not the 60 hours we think of as standard for Chinese workers, *and* they said that overtime is 3x base pay, not the 1.5 that is standard here. Granted, these are college students whose parents were sufficiently well to do to send them to the US to study, so their perspective may differ from the mainstream Chinese view — if there even is one in such a huge country.

But I digress — what I really wanted to do here was post a link to this article in the Albany (NY) Times Union about this history of Labor Day. Any Labor Union parades in  your town? Or is there just a parade of shoppers to the Home Depots of the World (unite!) to buy stuff and do work around the house?

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