HOME

TheInfoList




Labor Day is a
federal holiday in the United States In the United States, a federal holiday is a calendar date that is recognized and designated by the federal government of the United States as a holiday. Every year on a U.S. federal holiday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, ...
celebrated on the first Monday in September to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of
laborers A laborer is a person who works in Manual labour, manual labor types, especially in the construction and factory industries' workforce. Laborers are in a class of wage-earners in which their only possession of significant material value is their la ...
to the development and achievements of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. The three-day weekend it falls on is called Labor Day Weekend. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...
and
labor movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English ...
s grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the
Central Labor Union The Central Labor Union of New York, Brooklyn, and New Jersey was an early trade union organization that later broke up into various locals, which are now AFL–CIO members. The establishment of the CLU predates the consolidation of New York City ...
and the
Knights of Labor Knights of Labor (K of L), officially Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, was an American labor federation active in the late 19th century, especially the 1880s. It operated in the United States as well in Canada, and had chapters also i ...
, which organized the first parade in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
. In 1887,
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
was the first state of America to make it an official
public holiday A public holiday, national holiday, or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or ...
. By the time it became an official
federal holiday In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Was ...
in 1894, thirty states in America officially celebrated Labor Day. Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate
International Workers' Day International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day in most countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of Wage labour, labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every yea ...
on May 1, the ancient European holiday of
May Day May Day is a public holiday A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are susp ...

May Day
. May Day was chosen by the
Second International The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of workers' movement, socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at a Paris meeting in which delegations from twenty countries participated. The Second International continued th ...
of
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
and
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
parties to commemorate the
Haymarket affair The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre, the Haymarket riot, or the Haymarket Square riot) was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square (Chicago), Haymarket Squar ...
, which occurred in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
on May 4, 1886.


History


Origin

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...
and
labor movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English ...
s grew, diverse groups of trade unionists chose a variety of days on which to celebrate labor. In the United States, a September holiday called Labor Day was first proposed in the early 1880s. Alternative accounts of the event's origin exist. Descendants of two men with similar last names claim their great-grandfather was the true father of the holiday. According to one early history of Labor Day, the event originated in connection with a General Assembly of the
Knights of Labor Knights of Labor (K of L), officially Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, was an American labor federation active in the late 19th century, especially the 1880s. It operated in the United States as well in Canada, and had chapters also i ...
convened in New York City in September 1882."Origin of Labor Day", ''Cincinnati Tribune'', September 1, 1895, Special Labor Day supplement, p. 26. In connection with this clandestine Knights assembly, a public parade of various labor organizations was held on September 5 under the auspices of the
Central Labor Union The Central Labor Union of New York, Brooklyn, and New Jersey was an early trade union organization that later broke up into various locals, which are now AFL–CIO members. The establishment of the CLU predates the consolidation of New York City ...
(CLU) of New York. Secretary of the CLU Matthew Maguire is credited for first proposing that a national Labor Day holiday subsequently be held on the first Monday of each September in the aftermath of this successful public demonstration."McGuire or Maguire? A Tussle Over Who Founded Labor Day," by Jenny Gross, The New York Times, September 6, 2020
/ref> An alternative thesis maintains that the idea of Labor Day was the brainchild of Peter J. McGuire, a vice president of the
American Federation of Labor The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law since the 1935 en ...
, who, after a visit to
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

Toronto
where he saw parades celebrating labor that May, had put forward the initial proposal in the spring of 1882. According to McGuire, on May 8, 1882, he made a proposition to the fledgling Central Labor Union in New York City that a day be set aside for a "general holiday for the laboring classes".P.J. McGuire, "Labor Day – Its Birth and Significance", ''The Union Agent'' entucky vol. 3, no. 9 (Sept. 1898), p. 1. According to McGuire he further recommended that the event should begin with a street parade as a public demonstration of organized labor's solidarity and strength, with the march followed by a picnic, to which participating local unions could sell tickets as a fundraiser. According to McGuire he suggested the first Monday in September as an ideal date for such a public celebration, owing to optimum weather and the date's place on the calendar, sitting midway between the
Fourth of July Independence Day (colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in c ...
and
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...

Thanksgiving
public holidays. Labor Day picnics and other public gatherings frequently featured speeches by prominent labor leaders. In 1909, the American Federation of Labor convention designated the Sunday preceding Labor Day as "Labor Sunday", to be dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. This secondary date failed to gain significant traction in popular culture, although some churches continue to acknowledge it.


Legal recognition

The popularity of the event spread across the country. In 1887,
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official
public holiday A public holiday, national holiday, or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or ...
. By 1894, thirty
U.S. states In the United States, a state is a Federated state, constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territor ...
were already officially celebrating Labor Day. In that year, Congress passed a bill recognizing the first Monday of September as Labor Day and making it an official
federal holiday In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Was ...
. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law on June 28. The federal law, however, only made it a holiday for federal workers. As late as the 1930s, unions were encouraging workers to strike to make sure they got the day off. All U.S. states, the
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
, and the
United States territories United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania United is located in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is a community located near Norvelt, Pennsylvania. History In 1881, the United Coal Company, United Coal & Cok ...
have subsequently made Labor Day a statutory holiday.


Labor Day vs. May Day

The date of May 1 (an ancient European folk holiday known as
May Day May Day is a public holiday A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are susp ...

May Day
) emerged in 1886 as an alternative holiday for the celebration of labor, later becoming known as
International Workers' Day International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day in most countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of Wage labour, labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every yea ...
. The date had its origins at the 1885 convention of the American Federation of Labor, which passed a resolution calling for adoption of the
eight-hour day The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, was a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social So ...
effective May 1, 1886.Philip S. Foner, ''May Day: A Short History of the International Workers' Holiday.'' New York: International Publishers, 1986; p. 19. While negotiation was envisioned for achievement of the shortened work day, use of the strike to enforce this demand was recognized, with May 1 advocated as a date for coordinated strike action. The proximity of the date to the bloody
Haymarket affair The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre, the Haymarket riot, or the Haymarket Square riot) was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square (Chicago), Haymarket Squar ...
of May 4, 1886, further accentuated May First's radical reputation. There was disagreement among labor unions at this time about when a holiday celebrating workers should be, with some advocating for continued emphasis of the September march-and-picnic date while others sought the designation of the more politically charged date of May 1. Conservative
Democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...
President
Grover Cleveland Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837June 24, 1908) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only president in American ...

Grover Cleveland
was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1 would tend to become a commemoration of the
Haymarket affair The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre, the Haymarket riot, or the Haymarket Square riot) was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square (Chicago), Haymarket Squar ...
and would strengthen
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...
and
anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (polity), state, which it holds to ...
movements that backed the May 1 commemoration around the globe. In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative, formally adopting the date as a United States federal holiday through a law that he signed in 1894. Since the mid-1950s, the United States has celebrated
Loyalty Day Loyalty Day is observed on May 1 in the United States. It is a day set aside "for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom". The date, May 1, was set in order to counter Internat ...
and Law Day on May 1. Unlike Labor Day, neither are legal public holidays (in that government agencies and most businesses do not shut down to celebrate them) and therefore have remained relatively obscure. Loyalty Day is formally celebrated in a few cities, while some
bar association A bar association is a professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furth ...
s hold Law Day events to celebrate the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
.


Unofficial end of summer

Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer" because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. Many take their two-week
vacation A vacation (American English), or holiday (British English), is a leave of absence from a regular job. People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations. Vacations are often spent with F ...

vacation
s during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend. Many fall activities, such as school and sports, begin about this time. In the United States, many school districts resume classes around the Labor Day holiday weekend (see
First day of school The first day of school is the first day of an academic year. This is usually in August or September in the Northern Hemisphere and January or February in the Southern Hemisphere, but differs from country to country. North America Canada In mo ...

First day of school
). Some begin the week before, making Labor Day weekend the first three-day weekend of the school calendar, while others return the Tuesday following Labor Day. Many districts across the Midwest are opting to begin school after Labor Day. In the U.S. state of
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
, the
amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its struc ...
industry has successfully lobbied for legislation requiring most school districts in the state to have their first day of school after Labor Day, in order to give families another weekend to visit amusement parks in the state. The relevant statute has been nicknamed the "
Kings Dominion Kings Dominion is an amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type ...
law" after one such park. This law was repealed in 2019. In the U.S. state of
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Minnesota
, the
State Fair A state fair is an annual competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United Sta ...
ends on Labor Day. Under state law, public schools normally do not begin until after the holiday. One reason given for this timing was to allow time for schoolchildren to show
4-H 4-H is a U.S.-based network of youth organizations whose mission is "engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development". Its name is a reference to the occurrence of the initial letter H four times i ...
projects at the Fair. In U.S. sports, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of many fall sports.
National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and ...
(NCAA) teams usually play their first games that weekend, and the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any s ...
(NFL) traditionally play their kickoff game the Thursday following Labor Day. The
Southern 500 The Southern 500, officially known as the Cook Out Southern 500 for sponsorship reasons, is a NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Associati ...
NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing found m ...

NASCAR
auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at
Darlington Raceway Darlington Raceway is a race track built for NASCAR racing located in Darlington, South Carolina. It is nicknamed "The Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough to Tame" by many NASCAR fans and drivers and advertised as "A NASCAR Tradition." It is ...
in
Darlington, South Carolina Darlington is a city located in Darlington County, South Carolina South Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or A ...
from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015. At
Indianapolis Raceway Park Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park and O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis) is an auto racing facility in Brownsburg, Indiana, United States, about west of Downtown Indianapolis, Downtown Indianapolis. It includes a oval tra ...
, the
National Hot Rod Association The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) is a drag racing governing body, which sets rules in drag racing and hosts events all over the United States and Canada. With over 40,000 drivers in its rosters, the NHRA claims to be the largest motorspor ...
hold their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals drag race that weekend. Labor Day is the middle point between weeks one and two of the
U.S. Open Tennis Championships The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hard court Tennis hardcourt, Curtiss Park, Saline, Michigan A hardcourt (or hard court) is a surface or floor on which a sport is played, most usually in reference to tennis courts. They are ty ...
held in
Flushing Meadows Flushing may refer to: Places * Flushing, Cornwall Flushing ( kw, Nanskersys) is a coastal village in the civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designat ...
, New York. In fashion, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day when it is acceptable to wear white or
seersucker Seersucker or railroad stripe is a thin, puckered, all-cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvac ...

seersucker
. There are numerous events and activities organized in major cities. For example, New York offers the Labor Day Carnival, and fireworks over Coney Island. In Washington, one popular event is the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with free attendance.


Labor Day sales

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers with time to shop, Labor Day has become an important weekend for
discounts and allowances Discounts and allowances are reductions to a basic price A price is the (usually not negative) quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities c ...
by many retailers in the United States, especially for back-to-school sales. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season's
Black Friday Black Friday may refer to: Events Recurring days * Black Friday (partying), the last Friday before Christmas in the United Kingdom * Black Friday (shopping), the day following Thanksgiving in the United States * Friday the 13th or Black Friday * G ...
.


See also

*
Labor unions in the United States Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law since the 1935 enactment of the National Labor Relations Act. Their activity today centers on collective bargaining Coll ...
*
United States labor law United States labor law sets the rights and duties for employees, Labor unions in the United States, labor unions, and employers in the United States. Labor law's basic aim is to remedy the "inequality of bargaining power" between employees and em ...
*
Workers' Memorial Day Workers' Memorial Day, also known as International Workers' Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured, takes place annually around the world on April 28, an list of international observances#April, international day of ...


References


Bibliography

*


External links


History of Labor Day, History of Artists and Writers Unions, Rare Labor Related Comic Books

Labor Day is May 1: Today is a boss’s holiday.
''
Jacobin , logo = JacobinVignette03.jpg , logo_size = 180px , logo_caption = Seal of the Jacobin Club (1792–1794) , motto = "Live free or die"(french: Vivre libre ou mourir) , successor = Pa ...
''. September 7, 2015.
Today Belongs to Workers.
''
Jacobin , logo = JacobinVignette03.jpg , logo_size = 180px , logo_caption = Seal of the Jacobin Club (1792–1794) , motto = "Live free or die"(french: Vivre libre ou mourir) , successor = Pa ...
''. September 5, 2016. * {{authority control 1882 establishments in the United States Federal holidays in the United States Holidays and observances by scheduling (nth weekday of the month)
Day The word day has a number of meanings, depending on the context it is used such as of astronomy, physics, and various calendar systems. As a term in physics and astronomy it is approximately the period during which the Earth completes one ro ...
September observances Public holidays in the United States United States flag flying days Recurring events established in 1882 Summer events in the United States Labour days Articles containing video clips Monday observances