Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labour Day

I don't want to sound like Bill O'Reilly in one of his War on Christmas rants, but I noticed a distinct lack of coverage of Labour Day in the news today. Even the Yahoo Icon on the home page, which is decorated for every possible occasion, is conspicuously unadorned today. At Halloween the logo is covered in cobwebs, a penguin ice-skates along the base at Christmas, there are easter eggs at Easter and even a back-to-school theme a few weeks ago. I know it's hard to create a cute logo referencing labour strikes and protest marches, but "holiday human interest stories" are also absent from the headlines.

For those not familiar, Labour Day commemorates various protests around the world that demanded better treatment of workers, in particular reasonable working hours. In 1840 carpenters in New Zealand refused to work more than 8 hours a day, stonemasons in Australia marched to achieve the same in 1856, and printers in Toronto demanded a 54 hour week and a repealing of anti-union laws in 1872. It is celebrated on May 1st in much of the world (May Day) and the first weekend of September in North America.




Image: Toronto Labour Day Parade, about a hundred years ago on Yonge Street.

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