Labor Day, a national holiday in our country often loses it’s meaning through the excitement of a long weekend.
Labor Day is observed on the first Monday every year in September, to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.
Here are 5 interesting facts about Labor Day
- Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
- At the time, most Americans worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. Wages were extremely low and work environments were often unsafe, unsanitary, with limited to no fresh air. Through the poor treatment these men and women suffered, came the inspiration to begin organizing labor unions, strikes and rallies.
- On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later.
- Oregon was the first state to celebrate Labor Day as a legal holiday in 1887.
- While it’s been more than a century, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.