Every first Monday of September, employees in the technology, pharmaceutical, energy, telecommunications, and healthcare industries take a well-deserved break and celebrate an entire day dedicated to them: Labor Day. This regular holiday is an occasion that is much looked forward to, but have you ever wondered why it’s celebrated? What is labor day all about, really?
Labor Day 2021
It’s that time of the year again where everyone comes together to celebrate labor day. This year, 2021, labor day falls on the 6th of September, the first Monday of the month. To commemorate this year’s labor day, let’s take a look back at the history of labor day, workers’ rights, and why we celebrate this occasion up to this day.
History of Labor Day
Labor Day was created in the 19th century by the labor movement. In 1894, it became a federal holiday thanks to efforts by labor activists who pushed for a non-working holiday to recognize American workers’ social and economic contributions. They believed the employees, much like we say today, are the economy’s lifeblood and make significant contributions to America’s prosperity, strength, and well-being as a country.
There are no solid facts that state who in particular is responsible for founding Labor Day. However, two names are at the top of the list: Peter J. McGuire and Matthew Maguire. These two key people were the first to suggest a general holiday for the laboring classes.
Before The past administration recognized Labor Day as a holiday, it was already an occasion recognized by labor activists and individual municipalities. In 1885 and 1886, several municipal ordinances were passed to commemorate labor day.
As more and more states, pioneered by New York, began to introduce legislation making it an official holiday, it paved the way for the entire country to enact it as federal law. As a result, today, labor day is observed all around the nation as an annual celebration of American workers. In essence, it’s a way of thanking them for their work for their companies, industries, and the country as a whole.
Thanks to the work of activists and labor organizations, we have set guidelines today on the fundamental principles and rights of employees at work. These are outlined by the International Labor Organization as the following:
- The freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective
- The elimination of forced or compulsory labor, as well as child labor
- The elimination of discrimination of employment and occupation.
Further, several laws have also been enacted to provide employees with safety and health on the job, fair wages, and work hours, among others. These basic principles are considered internationally recognized labor rights.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day is a way to honor the hard work and contributions of American workers to the country’s economy. It began as a recognition of tough working conditions that employees encountered during the industrial revolution. In the 1800s, workers would hold strimes and parade the streets protesting harsh working conditions, which led activists to hold an entire day to recognize employees.
Also called the workingmen’s holiday, Labor Day is a commemoration of how much the industry has changed, the rights that were given to the laboring class, and the continuous and fruitful growth of working conditions for employees all around America.
How to Celebrate Labor Day
In America, labor day is typically celebrated through parades, parties, public gatherings, and picnics and capped with a fireworks display. These festivities are similar to how labor day was celebrated years ago when it was first proposed. Back then, activists would hold street parades to exhibit the strength and contributions of labor organizations.
Today, Americans have their own unique ways of celebrating labor day. However, employees take the day off to rest, rejuvenate, and celebrate with their families. And while the festivities have been toned down, there’s no silencing the true meaning of labor day: a reminder of how important the laboring class is to the country and how great their contributions are in the rise of the American economy and power.