Labor Day: Know About Its Creation and Celebration

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in the month of September every year. Considered as a federal holiday in the United States, this day honors the labor movement. This day is dedicated to the workers who strived hard for the well-being and prosperity of the country. Since it is on Monday, the long weekend is also known as the Labor Day Weekend.

Labor Day Legislation

The state of New York announced a Labor Day bill in 1887, but Oregon was the first to pass it on February 21st of the same year. Also, four more states – New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado followed suit. Within the next few years, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Nebraska also passed the bill.
Later by the end of 1893, 23 states announced Labor Day as an official holiday. These changes made U.S. Congress to finally approve Labor Day as a public holiday and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law. Hence every first Monday of September will be dedicated to the American laborers.

When Was It First Celebrated?

– The workers celebrated first Labor Day in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. They organized it according to the plans of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of that city.
– This union celebrated their next Labor Day on September 5, 1883.
– In 1884, the country selected first Monday of the September as the public holiday. Hence CLU and other organizations followed the example of New York and celebrated Labor Day on the first Monday.
– Later in 1885, the idea of federal holiday spread across the country and almost every industry of U.S started rejoicing this day.

The History Behind Labor Day

Although people celebrate Labor Day as a day for a cookout or astounding shopping deals, the history was not delicious like how it seems now. It involved a lot of tension between the workers, unions, companies and the government. So, if you are rejoicing this day with your family, it is worth to take a look at its origin.
– In the 1800s, the Central Labor Union covered only less number of workers. Hence the CLU and similar other organizations wanted to bring together all the small unions and create a huge mass.
– They planned to organize a significant event on the first Labor Day, but they did not receive any support from the government. No company or government declared it as a public holiday.
– Later they solved this issue by announcing a strike for one day in the city. The first Labor Day celebration involved a parade where around 10,000 workers participated in it.
– Although it resolved the issue, it was just a temporary solution.

In the last few years of 1800, the workers had to carry out more than 30000 strikes in the nation with almost 800 workers killed in between 1870 and 1914. In 1894, the bloodiest episode in America’s history killed dozens of railways workers which showed an end to this tension. Later in the same year, President Grover Cleveland had to sign the law that declared Labor Day as a federal holiday.

Who Created Labor Day?

There is no precise explanation to this question. There is a lot of confusions and debate regarding the first person who proposed Labor Day. According to few historians from the mid-1930s, it is Peter J. McGuire who was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and also a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.

He stated this holiday should honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” But other records in the early 1970s propose that it is not Peter J. McGuire, but another man by name Matthew Maguire who was a machinist. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, Maguire suggested this idea while he was serving as a secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU).

Most of the researchers support this man with the proposal of a holiday in 1882. They believe that he put forward this idea for a workingman’s holiday when he was speaking at a labor festival conducted during the same year.

Why Was This Day Created?

– The intention behind Labor Day is to reduce the working hours as well as working days of the workers.
– -In the beginning of 1830s, the workers in the manufacturing industries spent 70 hours a week on the field.
– Later in 1860, the average working hour saw a slight dropping with 60 hours a week.
– Still being a hectic schedule, the workers and the unions thought of reducing the working hours to further less than before.
– The union won after a rigorous battle against the companies and the government.
– The recent study shows that the employees in the manufacturing industry work on an average of 40 hours per week and most of them work only for five days.
– Also, few business owners started giving more time off for the workers to spend with their family.

Common Misconceptions Around Labor Day
– Although federal holidays are commonly called “national holidays,” according to Congress proclamation, the celebrations are only applicable to the federal employees.
– Also, the states can individually decide their legal holidays.
– The official holiday does not apply to private employees in most of the cases.
– Besides, few government services in transportation and protection sector, continue to work on this day.

Few Controversies

Although Labor Day is a noncontroversial holiday at present, it was not the same few 100 years ago. It had several controversies such as:
– The act of militant workers on Labor Day.
– The socialists, communists, and Marxist encouraged May 1 as an international day for violence and street protests. It prevails even now in few parts of the nation.
– Also, there is still a dispute over who proposed the idea of Labor Day.
Association of White Cloth with This Day
– In the Victorian era, people did not wear white or seersucker clothes after the celebration of Labor Day.
– Many people treat Labor Day as the end of summer. Hence, most of them do not wear comfortable and breezy white clothes which do not go well in the hotter months.
– However, the country does not follow this tradition anymore. You can wear your white garments past the Labor Day.

Prominent Employment and Labor Laws in the U.S

The Department of Labor enforced 180 Federal Employment Laws. However, the most prominent laws are stated here:
– The National Labor Relations Act
– The Fair Labor Standards Act
– Family and Medical Leave Act
– The Employment-at-will doctrine
– The Equal Pay Act
– Age Discrimination in Employment Act
– Family and Medical Leave Act
– The Immigration Reform and Control Act
– The Americans with Disabilities Act
– Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
– Employee Retirement Income Security Act
– The Occupational Safety and Health Act
– Pregnancy Discrimination Act

How Different Nations Celebrate Labor Day?

– Different countries refer to this day by various names such as “Worker’s Day” or “May Day.”
– In Egypt, people celebrate Labor Day on May 1st, and this day is a paid holiday in the nation. In Cairo, the President of this nation presides over the May Day celebrations.
– In the state of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh organizes Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts Festival at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds. This festival takes place for four days and includes vendors who sell crafts, ceramics, goodies, and also jewelry.
– Labor Day is on May 1st in Ghana. The labor associations and the trade union organize parades on this day. Workers from different companies identify themselves with different banners and t-shirts.
– In the state of Utah, people celebrate this day with the concerts which take place in the Wasatch Front.
– People in Ireland enjoy this day with the rallies, concerts, and lectures. Also, the film screenings take place in a few places.
– In Croatia, workers celebrate it by cooking or barbecuing altogether.
– In Italy, the trade unions organize the concerts, and all the famous songwriters and bands attend this function along with the youths of the nation.
– In Luxembourg, people spend this day with their friends and family by organizing picnics.
– Different countries celebrate this day in several ways. Most of them organize events, parades, and rallies to showcase the struggle as well as the importance of labors.

How American’s Celebrate Labor Day?

– Workers celebrate this day with the parades that are organized by the unions.
– Some celebrate it with different festivals, parties, and fireworks.
– They consider it an excellent opportunity to have a barbeque with friends and family.
– Since it is a long weekend, people often plan an outdoor picnic on this day.
– You can find congestions in the road during this Labor Day Weekend.
– Also, people celebrate it is as a festival of sales.
– Both the online and offline retail shops offer massive Labor Day discounts on the products.
– It is one of the most significant sales days in America.
– Ultimately, the celebration of this day has changed over the years. However, it is still seen as a day to celebrate the hardship of the workers who strive for the betterment of the nation.

Other Specialties of Labor Day
– It is viewed as the unofficial last day of school vacation. Hence it is considered as the best time to go out with your kids and family.
– Also, on or around this day, the football season starts. Many teams begin their game of the year during the long Labor Day weekend.
– Labor Day also puts an unofficial end to the Hot Dog season. According to few reports, hot Dogs are most consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Wrapping Up

With the unforgettable past, Labor Day has seen various tensions and battles during its creation. Today it is one of the noncontroversial holiday celebrated across the nation. The country dedicates it to pay tribute to all the American workers who strived for the strength and leadership of the homeland. It organizes parades, firework displays, and other events during the long Labor Day Weekend as a symbol of festivity.

Author: Robert Duke
Robert Duke is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media. With over 10 years of experience across B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, and brand marketing, Duke has helped several SMBs and large-scale organizations to elevate their marketing strategies.
Arun Anto, Creative Director- Sales