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Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

Posted at 12:57 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-02 23:52:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Labor Day is a reminder of the Midwest work ethic that helped build Kansas City.

For many, Labor Day marks the end of summer, but the day is also a chance to reflect on the past. 

"When we get a day like Labor Day, we think about the past and the people that made it possible for us to enjoy a day like today," said Arthur Smocks, a machinist who has worked with his hands for more than three decades in Kansas City. "Labor Day is a day of relaxation. It’s a day off from work."

Labor Day dates back more than a 100 years in America.

Information from the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Constitution Center.

One of the oldest unions in Kansas City is IAFF 42, the firefighters’ union.

"The fire department celebrated 100 years of service this year, really a historic year for us," said Tim Dupin, the president of the Greater Kansas City Firefighters Local 42. "When firefighting started 100 years ago, firefighters worked every day. There were no days off.”

But now, Labor Day isn't just for labor unions to celebrate.

"It takes everyone," said Pat Dujakovich, the president of the local AFL-CIO. "It takes the people who pay taxes, the people who save for retirement, the people who save for college to give us, as a society, the ability to go further. Take a moment, take a day off and look  back at the work they do and the contribution they make to society as a whole."