Labor Day

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For  workers and unions, there hasn’t been much to celebrate on Labor Day in recent years. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says things may finally be looking up.

Elisabeth Harrison

Millions of Americans will jump in their cars this Labor Day weekend, according to AAA Northeast. The non-profit auto club is expecting the largest number of Labor Day travelers since 2008, fueled in part by decreases at the gas pump and improvements in the U.S. economy.

An estimated 35.5 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from home, says AAA, a 1 percent increase over last year. The vast majority will travel by car, which may make for some pretty clogged roadways in New England.


It’s Labor Day, time to celebrate workers and labor unions. For this Labor Day  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s  a tough time for workers and organized labor.

In Rhode Island, Labor Day wasn’t always just another day off. It wasn’t always just an excuse for a last  summer day at the beach.  Or a backyard cookout.

A century ago, Labor Day was a time of worker activism. In 1893, after years of agitation by workers and union leaders, the Rhode Island General Assembly established the first Monday in September as a legal, but not a paid, holiday.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The American Red Cross is scrambling to find housing for residents of two Cranston apartment buildings that were overwhelmed by flash floods Monday.   Some of the 60 affected residents lost everything.

Today we celebrate the glorious history of the American labor movement. While unions have a storied past RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what the future holds.

Labor Day in Rhode Island has long been more than a summer’s end holiday. For decades, union leaders and their members have celebrated a movement that assimilated immigrants, fought vigorously for better pay and working conditions and was a fulcrum in the creation of a strong middle class.


Travelers should prepare for heavy traffic during the final holiday of the summer.  It’s expected to be the highest number of Labor Day travelers since the recession began.

AAA is projecting some 34 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over Labor Day weekend. That’s an increase of 4.2 percent compared with last year.

About 85% percent of travelers will be taking the family car.

AAA believes gas prices won’t be a major impediment; they’ve been trending down this month compared to August of last year.