Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is said to be 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.
According to the US Dept. of Labor, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. Celebrated in great lengths by nearly 25,000 workers and families with a parade, demonstrations and picnic.
The day off was celebrated as a "workingmen's holiday" within the Union, and the idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.Originally suggested by Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, the idea was reportedly desired as a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day, until Congress declared it a legal holiday in 1894.
Congress agreed it appropriate that the nation pay tribute to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
March 2013 marked the US Department of Labor's first 100 years of service, after President William Howard Taft signed legislation creating the dept., giving workers a direct seat in the President's Cabinet for the first time.
According to the dept. website, it was created in 1913 to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Read more and check out photos of the history of Labor Day here.
How do you celebrate Labor Day? Do you feel it is an important holiday to observe?