Labor Day and News

Happy Labor Day! From what I’ve read on numerous social platforms, those born from about 1975 and forward don’t really have any idea what Labor Day is all about. If you are like me and born in the mid ’50s through the ’60s, you learned about the events leading to the holiday and why it matters.

To most people either the day is one for activity (read, activism), or a day of rest. Both are correct and both are wrong.

In a very small nutshell, Labor Day was created as a Federal Holiday in 1894 by President Cleveland because of a strike in the Pullman Company, in Pullman Chicago. The strike which culminated in bringing unions to the forefront of the country, cost $80 in damage and the death of 30 people. The strike by the Pullman Company (who made luxury rail cars) was supported by the American Railroad Union (ARU). Workers lived in Pullman housing. And when the great depression of 1890 struck, Mr. Pullman tried to keep the company afloat first by dropping wages by 30%. But when he refused to drop his housing costs to meet the reduced wages, trouble erupted. Everyone had two cents to offer and nothing much helped. So the workers struck in 1894. The ARU said they would no longer work on Chicago rail cars and the Chicago rail system broke down. Rather than defy the strike boycott, 125,000 workers over 29 companies quit their jobs. Non-union strikers caused the problem, violence broke out, federal troops were called in. The president’s making of a federal day off was only a part of the appeasement to union workers and brought about the end of the ARU but an increase in a desire for union assistance.

So we take Monday off to remember those who died in support of hard working men, men who desired a fair wage to meet their responsibilities in housing provided by the company. Reduce the wage and reduce the rent. Pay me what I need, was all they asked. As a result, if you sit at home and away from school or your job, you do it in the shadow of men who died for that honor.

Yes, it’s not the same as men who died for our country. But it should be remembered with respect, whether or not you support unions today.  Today’s union climate is a whole ‘nother issue for another day. On this day, we sit in gratitude for time off to rest with our family and celebrate the social and economic achievements of our American workers. (Here’s a cover from 1946).

As writers, we want to know the history. Historical fiction is very popular right now. But fiction rooted in truth means understanding the truth of what happened so you can write fiction about it. Or understanding lessons from it so you can write alternate realities built on real incidents. Better, how about some science fiction where the union lost that day? Writers need to know truth no matter what you write. The truth makes our fictions, our tales, have muscle and grip us more surely than making up what we think happened.

For those who see this day as the “official” end to summer, then stop wearing white! And get shopping those sales. Remember not to work too hard.

I hope you celebrate the day and do it in reflection. However you remember and celebrate the day, write about it. The day is part of a social consciousness that must be remembered. Who better to remember than the writer?




In other news – I am pleased to announce that my memoir, Breaking the Glass Slipper, is a 2017 Kindle Book Awards Semi-Finalist! I am completely blown away and humbled. This is the fourth award for this novel, a book I am very proud to share.


Also, Slipper is nominated in Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards, Biography category. Voting is open to all for free. Vote once a day through Sept 11. There are oodles of other fabulous authors who crave your vote too. Please have a look here and don’t forget to vote for me in the Biography group! Thank you.



 I promised you some information about the oral read-through on my current WIP (work in progress) and I will write about it. I’m going to wait one more week because Terri and I have one more meeting and then I’ll have some words of wisdom for you. So I didn’t forget, ok?__________________________________________________

Finally, here’s my Monday #pinyourpen. I’ll have this on my Facebook page and Twitter. Hope you’ll come out to Facebook and share yours too.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your Labor Day is safe and shared with family and friends.

Until next time, I remain,
Yours Between the Lines,

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