Laboring on Labor Day - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Laboring on Labor Day


130 years ago in New York, union workers decided to celebrate the labor movement with a day off.  They encouraged others to do the same, making the first Monday in September a "workingman's holiday."

In 2012, many aren't at home celebrating the American workers on Labor Day.  Instead they're at work.

Kimberly Menke used to work as a teacher, where she always had summers and holidays off. Now she's a manager at Half Price Books in Cedar Rapids where holidays are a part of the job.

"I miss it in a way but I know I'm going to get days off and the day goes really quickly with all the shoppers coming in," said Menke.

Labor Day Weekend is the big push before the holiday season for the store.

Government buildings and other companies were closed in honor of the federal holiday, but malls, shopping centers, and grocery stores held sales.

"I don't mind it so much," said Jacob Allen, Meat Clerk at Hy-Vee. "Someone's got to do it. If everyone had the day off on Labor Day, what would you do?"

The Hy-Vee near Lindale Mall only closes on Christmas Day.  The rest of the year they're open 24/7.  While many shoppers had a three day weekend, managers at the store said they weren't much busier than on a regular weekend.

"People always got to eat so I don't mind working as long as we're keeping everyone happy and food on the table," said Tucker Rathjens, Second Assistant Manager.

For workers laboring on Labor Day, the day may not have been filled with the picnics and barbeques others were enjoying.  For them, the time to enjoy themselves will come later.

"It's different in that if you have plans with family, which is most typical, or friends you try to adjust around it," said Menke.  "We have a staff of about 20 so it's not like everyone is working on the holiday."

Because of the sales, Labor Day Weekend can drive in a lot more customers for stores.

On a typical Saturday at Half Price Books, they have about 500 transactions.  This past Saturday it was 700.

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