Americans look forward to Labor Day as a little extra time for rest and relaxation. They’ll have a chance to visit with neighbors over a plate of buttery corn on the cob and hamburgers off the grill — or unplug, close the curtains and exhale.

For the adventurous who cling to the last remnants of summer, time might be spent hiking, climbing a mountain or canoeing a lake.

“You know getting into this, serving the public, that you’ll be working holidays.”

With gas prices so much lower right now, plenty of others have hit the highways to visit farflung friends and family.

But wait a minute. Is this actually what most people are doing this Labor Day weekend?

Increasingly, Americans are working through the holiday, yet we have less money to show for that work.

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Many workers — nurses, doctors, grocery store employees, police, firefighters, lifeguards and others — never expect a break on this early September holiday that is dedicated, ironically, to the worker.

Ron Guggisberg, a fire captain and emergency medical service teacher at the Fargo, North Dakota, Fire Department, said working on Labor Day goes with the job.

“You know getting into this, serving the public, that you’ll be working holidays,” he told LifeZette. “It is what it is. On Christmas and on big family holidays, I might not be there. That holds true for Labor Day.”

It was conceived as a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to America.

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Labor Day is the brainchild of the labor movement. It was conceived as a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and innovation of America and became a legal national holiday in 1894.

Some historic records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first to suggest a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged, however. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, founded the holiday. Either way, a lot has changed since then and for many Americans today is just another day.

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“We’re a retail store, so we all work the holidays,” Betty Jones, an office worker at Cosentino’s Price Chopper in Kansas City, Missouri, told LifeZette. “It’s just another day to us. It is what it is,” she said.

In today’s economy, Many Americans will hardly pause in their work. If they do have free time to celebrate, it may be because they are unemployed.

For those Americans who do have full time jobs, employment hours are stretching, thanks to increasing workloads and the rise of technology.

“I hate to admit it, but I am on email every single night, and weekends, too.”

Adults employed full time say they are working an average of 47 hours per week — about six days a week, according to Gallup, the polling firm.

Americans also do not take as many vacations or days off as workers do in other countries.

As for technology in today’s work environment, we have to ask, is it friend or foe — or a little of both?

Portable devices such as iPads, laptops, and smartphones mean we are never more than a screen or phone call away from the office. Eighty-three percent of email users admit to checking their email daily while on vacation, according to the American Psychological Association.

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“I hate to admit it, but I am on email every single night, and the weekends, too,” one Boston-area husband and father said. “Technology is great in that I can be at my son’s hockey practice and be working, but it stinks in that work and its stresses are always there — right within reach.”

And when it comes to children’s schedules, Labor Day is hardly a blip on the screen. Sports schedules don’t recognize holidays such as Labor Day and barely stop games and practices for the father of all holidays, Christmas. “Labor Day Tournament” is uttered like a curse from many a tired parent’s lips.

How do we unplug and enjoy Labor Day, as well as other holidays and special family times? It takes effort and the will to just say no — to work and other non-critical obligations. But if you are working, have fun.

“I hope it will be pretty laid-back at the station this Labor Day,” said Guggisberg, the Fargo fire captain. “If we’re lucky, we’ll share a big meal together, and maybe some yard games will be on the schedule.”