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The majority of people see Labor Day as two things: a day off and the end of summer in the US. The question is why is it called Labor Day? The answer is simply it´s just a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.
Labor unions celebrated the first labor days in the United States, although there’s some speculations as to who exactly came up with the idea first. Most historians credit Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, with the original idea of a day for workers to show their solidarity. Others credit Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J.
The first Labor Day parade occurred Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. The workers’ unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The idea spread across the country, and some states designated Labor Day as a holiday before the federal holiday was created.
President Clover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide despite Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. In fact, he was trying to repair some political damage that he suffered earlier that year when he sent federal troops to put down a strike by the American Railway Union at the Pullman Company in Chicago, ILLINOIS. That action resulted in the deaths of 34 workers.
Now Labor Day is a worldwide celebration For example; In European countries, China, and other parts of the world the first day of May is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions.
In Ecuador as Some people in the US, they just see this day as a day off. In Ecuador as many other countries, political movements and workers organize peaceful May Day marches by carrying banners supporting workers.
Nowadays not all attend marches or rest during this day, as many jobs cannot be suspended for being vital to the function of society; others prefer not to rest since some citizens need to make a living day by day because without a day working would affect their fragile economy.
The first working class group appears in Ecuador not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. But their precarious situation portrayed the one of the workers of capitalist countries. So in Ecuador began the struggle for better wages, reducing working hours and obtaining minimum labor rights.
In observance of Ecuador´s Independence Day on August 10 of 1909, the First workers Congress was held. In 1911, at the initiative of the Association of a group of workers serving the local market of Guayaquil was commemorated for the first time the Labor Day.
Ecuadorians continued recalling workers in subsequent years. The government of Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez by decree on April 23 of 1915 enshrined Labor Day each year, the holiday for workers of Ecuador. The following year (1916) in the country was declared standard work day of 8 hours, but was systematically circumvented. There were protests, strikes and claims of the Ecuadorian working class, not only in order to advance in the achievement of their rights, but also to achieve respect and standardization of the 8-hour day work. In Guayaquil, the workers strike which was called for these purposes was repressed on November the 15th of 1922 resulting in a scandalous massacre of workers.
Recognizing that path of emerging Ecuadorian proletariat fights, the July Revolution of 1925 finally made the dream come true of the proletariat. In addition to modernizing Ecuador, it institutionalized consideration for the working classes through the creation of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor, the Pension Fund, the issuance of the first labor laws, and even the annexation of the income tax, etc.
After a long battle, in 1938 the new Labour Code was regulated and legislated. This code recognized the fundamental principles of protection for workers, and guaranteed their elementary rights. Nowadays, in Ecuador things are extremely different; workers are protected by the constitution and the law. We are covered by Medicare and our working hours are respected.
Finally, Labor Day contrasts from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are associated with conflicts and battles of man’s competence over man. Besides Labor Day is for all of us, let’s honor during this day, the only day in the year to all pioneers of the working class who demand respect and justice for the working class.