Posted by: philipfontana | August 28, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Happy Labor Day!


Don’t Think So Much: Enjoy It!


     Excuse us for living, but in today’s America where everything is politicized, it just has to be called, “Labor Day”! There is no way around it. We never gave it a second thought until now. Is anyone denying themselves a holiday weekend because they are ant-labor union? And are the labor union supporters “dancing with glee” (can’t even say “glee” anymore without overtones!) because they have duped the nation into celebrating the labor movement? Hardly. So let’s all come down from Mars and our new Curiosity rover to old planet earth and “get real.”


Fontana Labor Day Family Picnic, 2010

     Labor Day has come to mean one last summer fling, one last celebration for Americans marking the unofficial end of summer. Officially, it is a federal holiday and typically marked with low key events, picnics or barbecues, maybe even a little fireworks thrown in. Until recent years, most U.S. school districts resumed school in the immediate days following Labor Day (not in late August) and many still do continue this custom or schedule. So Labor Day takes on a big significance in the lives of millions of kids and families across the nation. – -Labor Day! – -The last hurrah!

So, come rain…


That’s me, Labor Day 2011

     … or shine…


Me again, Labor Day 2009

… the picnic must go on! After all, it’s Labor Day!


Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882

     Excuse us for living, but no one is denying the historical record. Labor Day had its roots in the American labor movement of the 1880’s. There is some dispute regarding which labor leader, one Matthew Maguire and the other Peter McGuire, proposed the holiday in 1882. It resulted in a parade that year in New York City and so the first Labor Day was born! But it took the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals first. It happened during the famous Pullman Strike in 1894. Six months later Congress passed the legislation, signed into law by President Grover Cleveland, creating Labor Day as a national holiday. So, what began as street parades and speeches by trade and labor organizations has come down to us and evolved into a holiday marked as a day of rest and picnics and parties.

Excuse us for living, but no matter how you play with words, no matter your political persuasion, anti-labor or pro, it’s Labor Day! Have a picnic, a barbecue, some fun! It’s summer’s end and just one more time this summer season let’s put aside our Labors!

Comments: Please!




  1. George Forman, Who? Phil Fontana the World’s Greatest ” Grillin DAD”. Looking good my friend. I think you enjoy the Grillin, so we will not count that as labor. Wonderful picture of the familia. Will take your advice and enjoy the fruits of all our years of hard labor. Enjoyed the refresher about the origins of this national holiday. Please be careful when grilling this weekend. Best to all. Peace, Pacheeck

    • John, Always can depend on you to first reply!!!! And I really appreciate that!!! Oh no, you are the King of the Grille!!!! I could never keep up with you! You cooked up some great beef for our stay! And I knew you would appreciate & already know the roots of Labor Day! I knew Winfield was a Labor Union community except for Bonzo running the School! Regards to all for the weekend holiday!

  2. I kind of chuckled Phil-you are “The Grill-Master”….tee-hee…..Jim loves to grill too—and have a beer!

    • Margaret, No, I’m sure Jim must the Grill Master over me with all your social gatherings! We just do Memorial Day & Labor Day…used to be the 4th as well. But beer!!!!! That’s another matter! Can you actually grille without beer???? I thought it came under Interstate Commerce law that all males must have “beers” while barbecuing!!! HAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Labor Day & end of summer to you & Jim! Phil & Geri too!

  3. Coming from a union family———–I am sadden to see our country loose the strength and security our working force once had. So I will toast to my Grandparents on Labor day for their part in creating the ILGWU and protecting the workers and their families.

    • Bernadette, YES!!! A union supporter & from your roots!!!! Proud of you! For me, teachers union all the way. It all started with Reagan firing the Air Traffic Controllers. Then came the foreign competition with cheap labor abroad. American unions started to give in to lower wages & less benefits to keep jobs. Plants moved south where people worked for lower non-union wages & benefits. Now we have in New Jersey Gov Christie who is anti-union just like Gov Walker in Wisconsin. But we are starting to get a slow union comeback. Notice I stopped short in my Labor Day piece of saying ALL workers owe a debt a gratitude to the union movement for the kind of workplace everyone enjoys today. People are so jaded today, you can’t say anything or you offend 50% of the audience. So I stated the union historic roots of Labor Day & left it to the reader to realize the debt we all owe to the union movement. Thanks for responding! Happy Labor Day! Phil

  4. Thank you Phil– it’s fun to remember our heritage–without defending oneself all the time–a nice break. Happy Labor day to you and your family.

  5. I remember some fun family Labor Day picnics…especially the one during which you dumped a pot of water over my head as an act of revenge for a previous sprinkling. Ahhhh, those were the days – before “union” became a bad word thanks to certain politicians.

    • Viv, I remember that after a little “strain.” The hosing came at Victor Street or Avenue & the pot of water came while you were seated at a picnic table in Paramus. Right???!!! Did not recall it was Labor Day. Didn’t the anti-labor movement pick up a head of steam when Reagan fired the Air Traffic Controllers? Now Christie & Walker carry it on!!! Have a great Labor Day & if you are not having fun, dump a pot of water on yourself!!!! –I don’t know! We were young & foolish!!! Now we are old & foolish! Phil

  6. […] Labor Day 2012 […]

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