Video:What Is American Labor Day?with Robert Longley
Traditionally, American Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September and was formed as a tribute to workers in the country. Here, learn more about American Labor Day.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is American Labor Day?
Why Is American Labor Day Celebrated?Labor Day, observed on 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 DayMore 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 co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor workers.
More recent research suggests that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. The First Labor Day
Date of American Labor DayThe first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, 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.
Labor Day LegislationBy 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
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