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Saturday, August 31, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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It's Not Necessarily A Holiday For Workers -- Labor Day Beckons To Shoppers, Politicians

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Labor Day may be a day meant to recognize workers and give them a three-day break from their toil, yet nobody really rests.

Shoppers cruise the stores. The horticulturally inspired toil in their gardens. Labor unions throw picnics. Politicians attend them.

In Seattle, Labor Day has special meaning. Tourists go home. The Pike Place Market returns to locals. And Bumbershoot is one big party for all.

While there are no scheduled parades in the city, there is the traditional picnic. On Monday, the King County Labor Council will hold its annual celebration at Woodland Park, where 1,000 folks are expected to chow down on hot dogs and ice cream.

"The day symbolizes working people, the sweat and the struggle they put in every day," says Ron Judd, executive secretary of the council. There's an added bonus. Politicians can attend the picnic, but they're not allowed to speak.

"I don't believe people come to listen to elected officials," says Judd, who pulled the plug on politicians three years ago. "They want to come and have fun."

Then there's the shopping. Plenty of it. Stores practically give away their stuff. And that means plenty of folks working in retail. The holiday has become a shopper's paradise, says Dick Outcalt of Outcalt & Johnson Retail Strategists.

Labor Day originated in New York City in 1882 when Peter J. McGuire, the founder of the carpenters and joiners union, suggested a day to honor the American working man, and to recognize labor's contribution to the country. He proposed the day to be halfway between Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Soon after that, 10,000 workers paraded in Union Square and the future of Labor Day was ensured.

Unlike most holidays, Labor Day generates some controversy, Judd says, because it recognizes and celebrates the success of organized labor.

"Labor Day is a really big struggle," says Judd. "It's the last holiday before the season changes. School starts. The snow is going to start flying in. Everything changes."

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What's open, what's closed on Labor Day Banks - Closed. Government offices - Closed. Liquor stores - Closed. Metro buses - Sunday schedules. Garbage collection - As usual. Postal service - No home delivery; post offices closed. Ferries - Regular schedules for all routes except Seattle-Bremerton, Edmonds-Kingston and Mukilteo-Clinton, which are on holiday schedules. Major shopping malls - Open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Pike Place Market - Some merchants, and the "Taste of Washington Farms" event, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seattle Center - Bumbershoot; rides open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific Science Center - Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seattle Aquarium - Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Seattle Art Museum - Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Woodland Park Zoo - Open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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