Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day History

The history of Labor Day in the U. S. isn't understood by many people today, but it's worth remembering.  Here's what appears on the U. S. Department of Labor website regarding the history of the holiday.  Worth reading.

The History of Labor Day

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some 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 first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

To read the entire essay click here.


Anonymous said...

Lord deliver us from labor unions that want more and more for doing less and less. Deliver us from unions who overlook government corruption in the name of fairness. Deliver us from unions who pay over a million dollars for part time work. Deliver us from unions who pay a salary to people who never show up for work Amen

Lorlee said...

Lord deliver us from robber barons, corporate thieves, corporations who send jobs overseas, executives who make 400 times what a worker makes, corporations that put profits ahead of human decency, those who rape our water, land and air. Amen.

(also, may you shine light on the heart of anonymous)

Anonymous said...

To recap Anon 10:21:

Diatribe. Hate unions. Blah, blah, blah. No facts or cites to sources.

belinda said...

Larry, it's so sad that Anonymous is so misguided (on this post and your previous one) . . . life has been too "perfect" for him it seems - he has no idea . . .