By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
August 27, 2014
This week we honor the American worker with a glimpse inside the old Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, Mo.
This advertising postcard, number five in a series of 30 views inside the Loose-Wiles Biscuit factory, shows a plant worker standing next to one of the Sweet Cake Machines. The card was sent to the store of Mr. H. A. Hale in Wheaton, Kan. The message on the reverse side of the card reads: “Will call for an order for Loose-Wiles products on 9/21/09. Wait for me, sincerely, J.C. Johnson, salesman.” By 1912, Loose-Wiles was the second largest biscuit manufacturer in the United States, second only to National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). In 1946, Loose-Wiles shareholders approved a name change to Sunshine Biscuits Inc.
In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected by the Central Labor Union in New York to be the first traditional Labor Day holiday. The Union urged other labor organizations in other cities to celebrate the holiday on the same day as a “working man’s holiday,” already observed in an unofficial capacity in other states. Oregon became the first state to pass official Labor Day legislation in 1887. The holiday became nationally recognized in 1894 when Congress passed legislation designating the first Monday in September to be the national holiday recognizing America’s labor force for their accomplishments. As one would expect, Labor Day was a highly celebrated holiday in the industrial centers of the United States, such as Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago. Parades, festivals and picnics all featured speeches and rallies led by industrialists and union leaders of the day.
Today’s Labor Day holiday, while still celebrated in observance of the American worker, is looked upon more as the traditional end of the summer holiday and kids returning to the classroom. Whatever your professional affiliation, take a moment this Labor Day to celebrate the achievement of the American working family.