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Labor Day is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States and Canada in honor of workers and to recognize their contributions to the society. Similar purposes are served by May Day in many other nations. Labor Day is observed on September 5, 2022, a Monday.

History of the Holiday

Concept of Labor Day

The concept of Labor Day was largely credited to Peter J. McGuire, a union activist who had created the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 1881. He suggested holding a ceremony honoring American workers in 1882 to the Central Labor Union of New York. On September 5, 10,000 employees participated in a march in New York City that was sponsored by the Knights of Labor.

The date had no special importance, and according to McGuire, it was picked because it occurred nearly halfway between Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

The Knights of Labor passed a motion in 1884 designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day. By the following year, Labor Day celebrations were taking place in other states as the concept swiftly gained popularity.

First State

Although it was previously observed on the first Saturday in June, Oregon was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1887.

The first Monday in September became a state holiday in the same year in Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Other states quickly followed.

Pullman Strike

A series of unemployed workers’ riots on May Day in Cleveland and the Pullman strike in Illinois in 1894 both led to U.S. Pres. To introduce legislation designating September 1 as a national holiday was Grover Cleveland. The bill was passed into law in June of that year and was partly designed to divert attention away from May Day, a non-celebratory holiday with roots in socialist groups.

Through the Years

The significance of Labor Day in the United States has shifted throughout time, particularly as the power of unions has diminished. It turned into a summertime festival and extended weekend for family gatherings for many people. At the same time, political demonstrations and parades have continued to be held, and the day occasionally serves as the formal launch date for nationwide political campaigns.

Today we honor those who work. You contribute to the overall administration of the world whether you are paid or not, working full- or part-time. Happy Labor Day and thank you!