3 Facts About Labor Day You’ve Never Heard Before
We all know the holiday that happens on the first Monday of September every year: Labor Day. It marks the end of summer, the beginning of football season, and a ban on white jeans. But have you ever thought about what this holiday means?
A little background…
Labor Day first became law in Oregon on February 21, 1887. (Go, Oregon!) During that same year, four more states would acknowledge the day as a holiday. These states were Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. Big shout out to the early adopter states here.
The holiday was a result of the labor movement, a movement that was concerned with the common interest and needs of U.S. workers. Labor Day 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.”
The first Labor Day Parade took place in New York City, where 10,000 workers got together to parade through the city.
Here are some other surprising facts…
- We aren’t sure who came up with this holiday! The big controversy here is that no one is really sure who actually founded Labor Day. Was it Peter J McGuire, a general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor? Or, was it Matthew Maguire, a machinist? The world may never know. All we do know is that whoever it was had the best interest of American workers in mind.
- Some parts of the world celebrate May Day instead of Labor Day. No, this isn’t a distress call! While Labor Day is a major holiday in the United States, many countries around the world recognize their workers with their own variation on the day. May Day is an international holiday honoring the working class that is celebrated on May 1st each year, coinciding with the day of a traditional springtime festival.
- P.S. Your achievements should be recognized and celebrated on a consistent basis – not just on one day! Okay, I know that we can’t have a legal holiday every week to recognize all the hard work us Americans put in. BUT, employers can show workers their value on a more regular basis. Sometimes it’s as simple as scheduling a team bonding event once a quarter. Here are some fun ways you can bond with your team.
This Labor Day, I hope you can enjoy the day off and partake in barbeques with friends and family.
…And if you can’t get enough of U.S. workforce history, you can check out our infographic, The Living History of the Workforce, for more fun facts from 1900 to today.