Archive

Archive for August, 2019

Labor Day Celebration

August 28th, 2019 Comments off

An Annual Celebration of American Labor

.

Worker with an American flag

The American Labor movement grew into prominence in the late 1800’s as workers organized to gain better and safer working conditions, higher wages, and an eight hour work day.  They also sought to eliminate child labor and abusive working environments.

On Labor Day we honor the American worker who, with dignity and pride, continues to contribute to the prosperity of our country.

5 Lesser Known Facts about Labor Day

Originating during one of America’s labor history’s most tumultuous periods, Labor Day has become an annual celebration of workers and their achievements.  Here are some little known facts about this annual holiday that celebrates the “dignity of the American worker”.

Who gets credit for the creation of Labor Day is unclear.

Maguire and McGuire Labor Day foundersLegend has it that Peter McGuire proclaimed his plan to honor all workers with a parade through New York City in May 1882.  But Matthew Maguire, another union worker, is also credited with proposing a day off for laborers.  Varying opinions still debate the originator of this holiday.  Was it McGuire or Maquire?

New York City was the location of the first Labor Day Celebration.

There is more certainty as to when and where the first official Labor Day celebration in the U.S. took place.  It was in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882. The parade began in the front of City Hall with a couple hundred participants, but as the parade wound its way through the city over 10,000 men and women joined in.

Why did Congress designate the first Monday in September as Labor Day?

In 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions declared that by May 1, 1886, all employers institute an eight-hour workday.  (May 1 is recognized as International Workers’ Day.)

Labor Day Parade 1882

The first Labor Day celebration and parade was held in New York City in 1882.

When that proclamation failed to take place, workers moved to strike, sparking the brutal Haymarket Riot in Chicago.  To avoid any association with these riots, in 1894 President Grover Cleveland followed the lead of several states and designated the first Monday in September the official holiday for laborers.

Oregon was the first state to legally establish Labor Day.

Oregon on Feb. 21, 1887 passed a law declaring the first Saturday in June, Labor Day, a state holiday giving the state’s workers a designated day off.  Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York each made Labor Day an official holiday in 1887, but placed it on a week day, giving workers the extra-long weekend.

Labor Day had its beginning in Canada.

The first worker parades occurred in 1872 following labor disputes in Toronto.  Soon after, anti–labor union laws were repealed.  In 1882 union activist Peter McGuire, whom some call the founder of our American Labor Day, spoke at a Canadian labor festival and liked the event so well that he proposed the idea of a workers’ national holiday to a New York labor union later that same year.

Enjoy Your Labor Day

Regardless of how you celebrate this long weekend, we encourage you to remember the reason for this holiday and be safe in your travels.