Much has changed in the 137 years since the first Labor Day march in 1882, when 10,000 workers swelled the streets of New York City to march in a historic parade celebrating American workers. Fourteen years later, in 1896, then-President Grover Cleveland officially set the holiday on the first Monday of September.
For decades after that, Labor Day celebrated the contributions of American workers. When Janice Burris, a local realtor with Century 21, was growing up in the 1950s, the holiday, she recalled, was a day to honor the contributions of American labor unions and the Founding Fathers' commitment to the rights of labor. Burris plans to work Monday.
Texas was recently ranked as the fourth hardest-working state in the United States by WalletHub.com, an independent rating source. The site also reports the average American works almost 1,800 hours per year, and uses only 54% of total vacation time.
The top 10 states for hard work, according to WalletHub: North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia, and Maryland.
Texas ranked fourth for the highest average of work week hours, 14th in average commute time, 26th in employment rate, and 20th in average leisure time spent per day.
In recent decades, the Labor Day holiday has become more of a day to relax.Many workers will get the day off; others will earn extra holiday pay.
Most schools, local government offices, and banks will close Monday, including the City of Palestine, the Palestine Public Library, Anderson County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, and the US Post Office.
Inside the Anderson County Courthouse, some employees said they will use the day to rest or spend time with family and catch up on housework. “I’ve got a full weekend of grandchildren’s birthday parties,” said Elizabeth Torres. Others said they will pursue hobbies, such as watching television, shopping, or enjoying time outdoors at the lake.
Elsewhere in Anderson County, Stephanie Harrison of Elkhart, a 23-year employee of the Palestine post office, said she enjoys taking the day off from work and spending the day with family.
For Harrison, the holiday is a break from the back-to-school rush and a time to regroup and plan for upcoming activities. Football season and homecoming will soon be followed by other family events, such as local festivals, Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays.