Happy Labor Day, Ventura County! This Labor Day, a day many people celebrate with gatherings and great food, many areas are encouraging people not to gather and to cancel Labor Day plans. It got us thinking about when Ventura County residents have been asked to change their Labor Day plans and we found an example from 1942.

On September 3, 1942, Greyhound published an ad in the Piru News asking people NOT to travel. The US had been in the war less than a year. The Seabees had just begun to arrive at the Guadalcanal on September 1 and later that month a Japanese plane would drop incendiaries on Oregon. The advertisement pronounced that “We all must realize: PLEASURE TRAVEL IS NOW A PEACE-TIME LUXURY.” Peace was still three years away.

Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894. It celebrates workers and their achievements and grew out of the labor movement of the late 19th century. There was very little legislation or regulations to protect workers before unionization and massive worker unrest, like riots, boycotts, and marches, led to enough political pressure to enact increased protections for workers. During this time of great unrest, which lasted decades, the idea of celebrating the “workingman” caught on in industrial cities around the country. It took 12 years for the nation to make it a federal holiday.

This Labor Day, the Museum celebrates all workers who have been asked to continue to serve during the pandemic. The agricultural workers, the grocery store workers, the plumbers and electricians, medical workers, and all other essential workers who continue to make sure that the public can access essential resources during this time.

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