International Workers Day – A Day of Recognition or Just Another Holiday?

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Photo Credit:'s artursfoto

Is International Workers Day (Labor Day in European countries) in the danger of losing its historical importance and relevance in today’s economic and social climate? Is it going to be reduced to a day to just slack off and enjoy some barbeque? No matter what people say, the International Workers Day is losing its appeal as an opportunity to remind people about the historical struggles of workers for their rights.A struggle that has seen social evils like racial discrimination, corporate greed and an overall disregard for the working class to get their due.

We take a look at the historical significance of the day, why its losing its star and finally, what is been done to keep the torch burning as far as the protection of fundamental rights of the workers are concerned.

How International Workers Day Came to Be:

The promise of the American Dream wasn’t born in a vacuum. In the Haymarket Square in Chicago, 1886, a peaceful rally comprising of laborers was held in response to the previous day’s killings of some laborers. The event didn’t remain peaceful as some vested elements bombed the rally. Following the May 4th 1886 affair in Chicago, the date of May 1st as the International Workers Day was proposed as a way of paying tribute to the lives of the struggling working class and their sacrifices. History is witness to this fact when, at the turn of the 19th century, workers from all across the globe realized that they were getting the short straw, their rights taken for granted by unscrupulous employers. As prime drivers of prosperity, the workers felt that their rights amounted to much more. The workers realized that they had to bargain collectively as a union, so that their employers would recognize that real power lay in the hands of the laborer.

And thus was born the labor movement, making workers everywhere proud of who they were and what they had done to uphold the worker’s rights and employment throughout history. It was finally time to push the tide against underpaid, overworked and mistreated employees. Even racial profiling was combatted in the work force as a result of trade unions forming in.

Employees Work Longer

International Workers Day came about as a day to recharge and enjoy recreation, and to remember that the struggle for equitable worker rights is ever-lasting.

Why International Workers Day is losing its symbolic value nowadays:

Historical precedents and happenings aside, nowadays the occasion of Workers Day has become about anything except labor. Ask the average person on the street about the accomplishments of the labor movement and you will be faced with quizzical looks. Even a discussion about labor laws and competitiveness isn’t considered a priority from the workers of today. It seems that today’s workers are fast losing sight of the struggles that their forefathers indulged in, all because future generation might enjoy a more judicious work climate.

Organized labor has declined too and people are more concerned with leisure. America is still the largest manufacturing country in the world but China is going to take that crown away any day now as things stand. Now its just about enjoying tax-free shopping at Targets and Walmarts on Labor Day, a far cry from re-energizing the workforce.

Recognizing the spirit of International Workers Day:

All is not lost though. There are small independent ways that uphold and celebrate workers on this eventful day. Employee of the month contests are one way of crystalizing the enterprising spirit of the modern worker, with many firms awarding their most prized human resources around the year. Events like these also serve as motivators for the labor force. Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold a Oscar-like ball for recognizing the excellence and ingenuity of workers on Labor Day. A grand extravaganza that celebrates the best and keeps the wheels of innovation alive in the industry.

Take a look at this helpful infographic about the International Worker’s Day:

Labor Day in European Countries

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About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.