136 Labor Day 2    040906 (Japanese, 040920; English, 040930)

Labor Day Picnic Photos

Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September, and on this Day almost all Americans get a day off 1).  The day after Labor Day, schools such as elementary school, mid-school, and high school usually will start their new school years 2). Most students do not feel very happy because they still miss the long - almost three months - summer vacation.  In addition, Minnesotans sense winter is sneaking up on them because around one week after Labor Day they may start to get snow. 

As for a sort of the history of Labor Day, both the US and Canada celebrate Labor Day on the first Mon. in September. This day corresponds to May Day, on May 1st, when many other countries, except for the US and Canada, observe 3).  This year, for the first time, we attended the Labor Day picnic held by the Saint Paul Area Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO 4, 5).  Officials estimated that around 12,000 people gathered at this picnic.  The picnic was held at the Harriet Regional Park, in St. Paul, which is on the Mississippi and has a big open lawn space. There were many tent booths of various kinds of unions and a voter registration booth.  Several invited speakers talked to the picnic crowd and some entertainments such as dances and music were performed on the stage.

Before attending the picnic, we anticipated that Labor Day speeches would be loud and could sometimes be obnoxious. However, the speeches were not so loud, so we could relax and enjoy staying there. There were entertainment even for kids, and our impression of this picnic was that many people could have fun participating in this picnic.  

As you know, this year on November 2nd, we will have the Presidential Election.  Therefore, well-known politicians such as President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Mrs. Lynne Cheney, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards, and Sen. John McCain, often visit Minnesota.  In fact, Sen. Edwards came to this St. Paul Labor Day picnic and spoke to the picnic crowd.  The crowd seemed supportive of Kerry-Edwards.  Yup! We saw Sen. Edwards in person.  On this same day, Vice President Cheney and Mrs. Cheney visited the Minnesota State Fair. This is held in St. Paul in the neighborhood of the Harriet Regional Park. They met with many people visiting the fair.

Here is a question on Labor Day from a Japanese:
”On Labor Day, are there many picnics organized by unions in Minnesota or nationwide? I feel there are not so many picnics by unions, and people just relax to enjoy the three-day weekend. Am I right?  Thx. “

Two Americans’ comments to the above question:  

A’s view
”I think for the typical person, they don't go to union picnics.  In fact, I had never heard of them until you mentioned them.  Few people in my family were/are in a union, and none were actively involved, so maybe my perspective is warped.  But I don't recall any friends or classmates of mine ever talking about this either.

So I think you are right -- I think this is not a common event for most Americans.” 

B’s view
I agree with you and A. I don't think many people go to union picnics on Labor Day. My wife belongs to a union and she has never gone to anything like that. But she is not that active with her union either.  

So I think you are correct that people just enjoy the long weekend.”

References - Web sites relating to Labor Day:
(1) Explore America Info Newsletter 7
(2) Explore America Info Newsletter 5
(3) History of Labor Day (Department of Labor)
< http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm  >
(4) Saint Paul Area Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO < http://www.stpaulunions.org/ >

AFL-CIO   (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
(5) MN (Minnesota) AFL-CIO
  < http://www.mnaflcio.org/  >

in Japanese
modified: Aug. 30, 2012
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