The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

August 31, 2013

Local entities, most schools close for Labor Day

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Monday is Labor Day, a federal holiday that celebrates hard working Americans by giving them the day off.

The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail on Monday. Regular mail delivery will resume on Tuesday.

Students attending Westwood, Cayuga, Neches, Slocum, Frankston and Elkhart independent school districts get Monday off. Students enrolled at Palestine ISD have to attend class.

Local offices of the Department of Public Safety, the Social Security Administration and most banks also will be closed to observe Labor Day.

Both county and municipal offices, including city halls, courts and the administration offices of local law enforcement agencies also will be closed. Anyone needing emergency services through the weekend are urged to call 9-1-1.

Monday’s trash pick up schedule will not change for Palestine residents.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, the holiday always falls on the first Monday in September and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

“More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers,” the site states. “Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those ‘who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.’

“But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.”

The first Labor Day holiday was observed on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, but it wasn’t until 1884, that the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday. 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, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

“The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy,” the DoL’s website states. “It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”