»Montrose Verdugo-City Chamber of Commerce

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Labor Day History

When most of us think of Labor Day, we traditionally think of the end of summer, our last chance to have a barbecue with family and friends, the official start of football season and the beginning of a new school year. But in the past two years, Labor Day seemed to have lost some of its sentimental meaning. School has been underway here in Montrose for three weeks now so it “feels” like summer is over. The barbecues this weekend will seem like just another barbecue.

But one thing that hasn’t changed here in Montrose is that Labor Day weekend is also an important sale weekend for many retailers. I am sure many of you are planning to go to one of the many Labor Day sales at your favorite stores, or online, and take advantage of the deep discounts you will find. Labor Day sales became popular after Labor Day was declared an official holiday in 1894. To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers available to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday. But I am sure that even these statistics, which are from 2012, have changed.

With the Internet becoming such a big part of how shopping gets done, everything is changing. Here in Montrose we hope that you will come and shop here over this Labor Day weekend. If we want places like Montrose to continue to exist, we need to shop at them. Our retailers need your help. More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States. Log on to and browse through the list of all the retail shops that are on the avenue. I am sure you will find that each one of these stores has something you didn’t know they had and you will be pleasantly surprised! I shop in Montrose and I can tell you they are competitively priced with the other stores where you are shopping. Remember that shopping local benefits us all!

Since school is back in session, I wanted to give you all a “history lesson” courtesy of the History Channel.

“Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living.     Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. In the late 19th century, labor unions grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. In September 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. Congress finally legalized the holiday 12 years later when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. In May of 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. In June, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide.

To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.”

So this Labor Day enjoy the extra day off and be sure to come to Montrose and shop for all of your needs this Labor Day weekend.
Melinda Clarke
Executive Director
Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce
3516 N Verdugo Rd.
Glendale, CA 91208

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