Here we go again! Revving up to celebrate another holiday most Americans know little to nothing about, but hey, a day’s break from labor? I’m in!
Labor Day was actually declared a national holiday in 1894 after President Grover Cleveland failed to break up a massive railroad strike led by the American Railroad Union’s Eugene V. Debs, who called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars in solidarity with the employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago who went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. True to form the federal government sent troops to Chicago to break up the strike, which had severely crippled railroad traffic nationwide. The clash between the strikers and troops ended in a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this unrest and in an effort to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September an official holiday in celebration of American laborers’ invaluable contributions to society.
Labor day also marks the official end of summer (but let’s be honest, summer never really ends in Phoenix) and last day fashionably conscious women and men should be seen wearing white (unless you are Coco Chanel)—more on the history of this fashion faux pas next year.
So spend the day relaxing, spending time with friends and family, and if you decide to enjoy an adult beverage or two or three, or will be on the roads this weekend, be aware that DUI arrests were up in 2015 from 2014 on Labor Day, and “saturation patrols” will again be set up all over the Valley to apprehend drunk drivers. Saturation patrols and checkpoints for Labor Day 2016 are identified here and are expected to begin on Friday, September 2, and continue through Monday. Wearing white after Labor Day is not fashionable and neither is wearing orange (or pink) if Sheriff Joe has his way. So please stay safe, know your limits, and if you do find yourself at odds with Uncle Sam, even if in the spirit of the strikers who inspired Labor Day, know your rights! Call a lawyer!