“Labor is prior to and independent of the capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Lengthy working hours – an average American was made to work for 12 hours a day and seven days a week.
Children made to work – even restrictions in some states could not prevent children as young as 5 or 6 from forced labor in factories, mills, and mines for a fraction of wage.
Poor working conditions – lack of proper sanitary facilities, hazardous working environment, no access to fresh air and insufficient breaks.
All these reasons led to the formation of Labor Unions who organized strikes and rallies to protest against such animosities and help workers get their due recognition, pay and freedom from long working hours. Hence, the idea of allocating a holiday to honor workers for their hard work and contribution came into play.
• It was Peter McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Union or Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists who came up with the idea of allocating a specific day to honor workers.
• As a result, the Central Labor Union decided to organize a parade and picnic for the purpose, and a committee was formed.
September 5, 1882 –
• The first celebration of US Labor Day took place on September 5, 1882, in New York City.
• There was a huge parade organized for the day that was attended by 10,000 workers who marched from City Hall past Union Square uptown to 42nd street.
• The parade ended in Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue where events, picnic, and speeches were organized for them.
1887 – As a legal holiday, Labor Day was first celebrated by the state of Oregon.
1894 – Finally, the US Congress together with the President Grover Cleveland’s approval passed an act that announced first Monday in September of each year as the day for celebrating workers.
1916 – A law regulating hours of workers came into play in the year. The Adamson Act restricted working hours in private companies to eight hours and nothing more than that. The law was passed on September 3, 1916.
• The US Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September every year.
• The day is “unofficial end of summer season” in the region.
• Most of the football game starts during and around the Labor Day weekend.
• People do not wear white or seersucker clothes after Labor Day as it brings unofficial end to summer holidays.
• According to the count till July 2017, there are more than 160 million civilians that fall under the country’s labor force.