September 2, 2016
Back in May, Memorial Day marked the beginning of summer, leading to three months of barbecues, vacations, and outdoor activities. After a long and hot summer, we are now at Labor Day in the United States. Children go back to school and the summer traveling season slows down. Labor Day is the day where many take the opportunity to have one last hurrah. A final barbecue, trip to an attraction, or to take the day off.
Every first Monday in September is Labor Day in the United States. The day is to celebrate the everyday worker and their achievements. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City by the Central Labor Union. The second Labor Day was held a year later on September 5th, which was held the previous year on the same day. Finally, as originally proposed, it was changed to the first Monday in September in 1884. It was originally held in New York City, but then other cities followed suit. Eventually, a few states began to propose Labor Day observations in their legislatures. In 1885, Oregon was the first state to officially recognize Labor Day as an official day while New York was still introducing the bill to their local legislators. By June 28, 1894, Grover Cleveland officially signed the act into law under the pressure of Congress.
Which one? There is debate on who originally proposed the idea of Labor Day. Some say it was Peter J. McGuire, who was the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Others say it was Matthew Maguire, who was a machinist and a secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Patterson, NJ.
In the present, Labor Day is considered a public holiday, so major government offices, post offices, and schools are closed to observe the holiday. Many businesses are also closed in observance or close early. Those who do work on the holiday are usually given holiday pay.