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Labor Day 2023: a history of the American Labor Movement

Labor Day 2023: a history of the American Labor Movement

In many countries, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1. However, in the United States and Canada, the holiday takes place on the first Monday in September. Officially commemorates the contributions of workers to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.

The first Labor Day celebration was held in New York on September 5, 1882. The date was chosen because it was roughly midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving celebrations. It was celebrated with a parade sponsored by the Knights of Labor (one of the first labor unions in the United States) and approximately 10,000 workers paraded.

The Knights organized another parade the following year and in 1884 adopted a resolution calling for recognition of the first Monday in September as Labor Day. By 1894 approximately 28 states celebrated Labor Day and in that year Congress passed a law establishing the day as a national holiday.

A history of the American Labor Movement


According to the Department of Labor, the idea of creating a holiday to honor workers was proposed by Peter McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Union or Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists.

The Central Labor Union of New York appointed a committee to organize a picnic and parade to honor the workers.

On September 5, 1882, New York City held the first Labor Day parade. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 10,000 workers participated.

Not all employers support the idea, but many unionized workers take the first Monday in September off anyway. Some unions impose fines on workers who do show up for work. Back then, workers received time off for Christmas, the Fourth of July, and every other Sunday.

In 1887, Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day a legal holiday. And by 1894, President Grover Cleveland and the U.S. Congress made Labor Day a national holiday.

According to official data, in 1983 the union membership rate was 20.1% in the U.S. By 2020, the membership rate was 10.8%. In 2020, Hawaii and New York had the highest rate of unionized workers among the states: Hawaii at 23.7% and New York at 22%. South Carolina and North Carolina had the lowest, at 2.9% and 3.1% in 2020.

Labor Day has been celebrated for more than 120 years, making it one of the great traditional holidays across the nation. Its origin lies in the celebration of the labor contribution of Americans, as well as the establishment of their union rights.

It's a date with a certain bittersweet taste. It brings with it the end of the summer season although, on the other hand, Labor Day will mean a three-day weekend for most workers and countless sales at big-name retailers.

In My Deals 365 you will not only find the discount catalogs of the best stores in the country, but you can also learn a little more about the history of the United States. Enjoy the day very much!


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