Labor Day Pop Quiz: What Are We Really Celebrating This Weekend?

labor day parade posterMost people only think of Labor Day as a nice excuse for long weekend, the beginning of fall, or the start of football season. But the last holiday of summer is more than a day off work: It's also one of the most controversial of American holidays, a celebration of the laborers -- and more specifically, the unionized laborers -- who made America strong. In honor of America's workers, we put together this little quiz.

If you've ever wondered what Labor Day means, how it came into being, or why it's still important, take a peek.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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What a great mini lesson on labor history. God bless all workers and especially those of you who pay union dues. Enjoy tomorrow if you have it off.

September 03 2012 at 1:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

all of the conservative commentators, as well as GOP governors, are ignorant about American history. WHile they all enjoy their 5 dau 40 hour work week and medical benefits, they forget it was the Union movement that fought and won those rights. Once the unions secured those rights for their memebers non unionized shops had to match them. All American workers owe a bit of thanks to the unions.
Just think about what has happened since Reaagan started the GOP union bashing in the 1980s. Wages have stagnated, most families need two jobs to make it , and many many comapnies are cutting employee benefits to increase their profits although they are already profitable. And don't tell me how the Democrats are to blame as well. Since 1980, 32 years, there have been only 11 years of Democrats in the WHite House vs. 20 for the GOP.

September 02 2012 at 4:44 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

It's astonishing to me that the American worker has become the enemy in this country. The power of propaganda can be breathtaking in its scope, particularly when wielded against the feebleminded. The cancers of greed and ego have polluted the souls of too many. Instead of coveting your neighbor's good fortune because his union card provides him with a better wage and benefits, get off your own ass and try to better yourself instead of advocating against your fellow man. Rather than blaming unions for your plight, try examining your employer and then take a long look in a mirror. Apparently, there are many fools not aware of the residual benefits gained by most workers because of Organized Labor. If you're opposed to unions, can your hypocrisy and return that largesse to your employer. If the 7% of private sector union workers are overpaid, as the covetous are wont to believe, then so, too, are the 93% of private sector non-unionized workers. Perhaps it is time to examine the overcompensated non-union employee and bring his wages in line with the global free market. Of course, I would never advocate that. I want what is best for ALL American workers, a sentiment shared by too few in today's self-centered America. Unions are not perfect but neither is business. Fortunately, there are some people who appreciate the concept of advocacy, thankful that a union is available to represent them while covering their back from the always hungry blade of the knife.

September 02 2012 at 4:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brcat1978's comment

Yes, Brcat and most people fail to realzie the concept of prevailing wage is only in play because a union worker somewhere is paying a union book. Those too unfortunate or too frugal to have a union book benefit by that prevailing wage and should thank a union worker who pays for a book rather than bash him as has so apparently become the new vogue.

September 03 2012 at 1:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sending jobs to China or anywhere else , is TREASON .It harms America,Americans,and American values ,as much as giving ( selling ) them military plans and secrets. Those who do it, do it for added profit ,same as any other TRAITOR.

September 02 2012 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to roundrec's comment

You are right. It is an act of treason. And those of us who buy these cheap imported articles much of which we don't even really need, are also not without sin.

September 03 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Those damn unions! the gall of those peon workers actually wanting a living wage!! and health care..... where do they get off? its all the UNIONS FAULT.............right!.................. gimmie a break!

September 02 2012 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Collins

This Labor day is different we are celebrating the fact that the chair Mr. Eastwood spoke to this past week was made in America !

September 02 2012 at 11:23 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Phil Collins's comment

But stolen from the nursing home.

September 03 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Labor day to me is nine months after Fathers night.

September 02 2012 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Unions are worlthess today. Had it not been for the unions we would not be in the mess we are in, not saying that the politicians didn't help as well. Greed of the Unions and union workers got out of hand that is why we have to pay higher prices for everything that we need. The crap that comes into this country is no better then what we could build if for in this country and be a better product. We lose gournd daily to big business but we caused the problem by being union member. Now we have no jobs and blame everyone but oursleves.

September 02 2012 at 10:29 AM Report abuse -11 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hman570's comment

Amazing comment. Without unions we would still be working six days a week, 12 hour days, have no safety nets at all and not even get a minimum wage. Admittedly some unions have outlived their usefulness, but ifcorporations have the only say everyone's pay will drop. The ultimate, apparently, for every conservative , is to have no minimum wage, no health care, no job safety, no product liability...UNLESS it affects them. I have not yet seen a conservative willing to take less money to help the cause of America. It is always the NEXT guy.

September 02 2012 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The point was to bring the rest of the world up to our standard of living. Not to let the US workers slide down to the non-union third world sweatshop standard. It is NOT the fault of the unions. It IS the fault of greedy corporate CEO's who are not content to make millions, they want only Billions now and this is being done on the back of the working man and taking food off of his table. If you have a gripe tell it to the CEO of Conico Phillips who despite recording breaking profits in the billions of dollars still forced the unions to take a second pay cut on hourly rate. This after workers already gave up concessions such as dental, and optical and higher copays on medical. That SOB is like a pig in shite, but he wants the guys to take another pay cut. Get out and look for a job and see how these employers act and how they comport themselves It is the greed of managment that got this country in the pickle it is in, not the union workers. I would like to publish a list of the worst of them and have every working family boycott their products. No chinese crap for Christmas presents either. Made in America or do without. This is what needs to be done to get the country back on its feet and show them that it is what the majority want that matters, the majority rules not these greedy SOB's.

September 03 2012 at 1:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The Labor Day holiday needs to be scrapped. Back in the 1950's and before unions were a very important part of society where 48% of workers were union. Today less than 12% are union.
Today unions are a destructive force, especially the teachers unions. When kids are asked to bring their own pencils and toilet paper to school something is wrong. the teachers unions represent 78% of school budgets.
Retired teachers over 65 actually are reimbursed 100% for their medicare deductions from SS...
I can go on about many existing unions but the story is the same....

September 02 2012 at 9:49 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Labor Day ..where all of us who actually labor will be working while the office crowd and higher ups will have a day off.

September 02 2012 at 7:37 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply