Labor Day

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Labor Day
First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.jpg
Labor Day Parade in New York's Union Square, 1882
Observed byUnited States
TypeNational
Celebrations Parades, barbecues
Date First Monday in September
2018 dateSeptember 3  (2018-09-03)
2019 dateSeptember 2  (2019-09-02)
2020 dateSeptember 7  (2020-09-07)
2021 dateSeptember 6  (2021-09-06)
FrequencyAnnual
Related to Labour Day

Labor Day in the United States of America is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the power of collective action by laborers, [1] who are essential for the workings of society. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Public holidays in the United States Wikimedia list article

The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers, who employ 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has historically been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are currently expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary.

Labor history of the United States

The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, US labor law, and more general history of working people, in the United States. Beginning in the 1930s, unions became important components of the Democratic Party. Some historians question why a Labor Party did not emerge in the United States, in contrast to Western Europe.

Contents

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day. [2]

Trade union Organization of workers with common goals

A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organization, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.

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 (1897) by nearly two decades and is best known as the organization that created the American Labor Day holiday. Organized in 1867, it later spread to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The union was firmly Marxist in orientation and was the first integrated labor union in the United States.

Knights of Labor defunct labor federation from the United States

Knights of Labor, 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 in Great Britain and Australia. Its most important leaders were Terence V. Powderly and step-brother Joseph Bath. The Knights promoted the social and cultural uplift of the working man, rejected socialism and anarchism, demanded the eight-hour day, and promoted the producers' ethic of Republicanism in the United States. In some cases it acted as a labor union, negotiating with employers, but it was never well organized or funded. After a rapid expansion in the mid-1880s, it suddenly lost its new members and became a small operation again.

Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1 – the ancient European holiday of May Day. (May Day was chosen by the Second Internationale of socialist and communist parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886. [3] [4] )

International Workers Day celebration of the international labour movement

International Workers' Day, also known as Workers' Day, Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day, an ancient European spring festival.

May Day an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on 1 May. It is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. International Workers' Day can also be referred to as "May Day", but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

Haymarket affair Aftermath of a bombing

The Haymarket Affair was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day, the day after police killed one and injured several workers. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at the police as they acted to disperse the meeting, and the bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded.

History

Origin

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, different 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. Alternate stories of the event's origination exist.[ citation needed ]

According to one early history of Labor Day, the event originated in connection with a General Assembly of the Knights of Labor convened in New York City in September 1882. [5] 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 (CLU) of New York. [5] 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. [6]

Matthew Maguire was a New Jersey machinist, who in 1882, proposed to the CLU the creation of the Labor Day holiday to celebrate United States workers. In 1896, Maguire was the vice-presidential nominee of the Socialist Labor Party of America. Running on the ticket alongside Charles H. Matchett, the pair were on 20 state ballots and received 36,367 votes. The campaign received more votes than any other SLP ticket until 1944.

P. J. McGuire, Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, is frequently credited as the father of Labor Day in the United States. Peter-j-mcguire.jpg
P. J. McGuire, Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, is frequently credited as the father of Labor Day in the United States.

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, who put forward the initial proposal in the spring of 1882. [2] 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". [7] 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. [7] 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 and Thanksgiving public holidays. [7]

Peter J. McGuire American labor leader

Peter J. McGuire was an American labor leader of the nineteenth century. He co-founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in 1881 along with Gustav Luebkert and became one of the leading figures in the first three decades of the American Federation of Labor. He is credited with first proposing the idea of Labor Day as a national holiday in 1882.

American Federation of Labor Federation of U.S. labor unions, 1886-1955

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States founded in Columbus, Ohio, in December 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor union. Samuel Gompers of the Cigar Makers' International Union was elected president at its founding convention and reelected every year, except one, until his death in 1924. The A.F. of L was the largest union grouping in the United States for the first half of the 20th century, even after the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) by unions which were expelled by the AFL in 1935 over its opposition to industrial unionism. The Federation was founded and dominated by craft unions throughout its first fifty years, after which many craft union affiliates turned to organizing on an industrial union basis to meet the challenge from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the 1940s. In 1955, the AFL merged with the CIO to create the AFL-CIO, which has comprised the longest lasting and most influential labor federation in the United States to this day.

Thanksgiving Holiday in North America

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

Labor Day picnics and other public gatherings frequently featured speeches by prominent labor leaders.[ citation needed ]

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. [6] This secondary date failed to gain significant traction in popular culture.

In 1887 Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day. [2] 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. [8] All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories have subsequently made Labor Day a statutory holiday.[ citation needed ]

Labor Day vs. May Day

The date of May 1 (an ancient European folk holiday known as May Day) emerged in 1886 as an alternative holiday for the celebration of labor, later becoming known as International Workers' Day. 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 effective May 1, 1886. [9] 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. [9] The proximity of the date to the bloody Haymarket affair of May 4, 1886, further accentuated May First's radical reputation.[ citation needed ]

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 President Grover Cleveland was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1 would tend to become a commemoration of the Haymarket Affair and would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements that backed the May 1 commemoration around the globe. [10] In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative. [11] The date was formally adopted as a United States federal holiday in 1894.[ citation needed ]

Since the mid-1950s, the United States has celebrated Loyalty Day and Law Day on May 1.

Unofficial end of summer

Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer" [12] because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. Many take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend. [13] Many fall activities, such as school and sports, begin about this time.[ citation needed ]

In the United States, many school districts resume classes around the Labor Day holiday weekend (see 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. [14]

In the U.S. state of Virginia, the amusement park 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 law" after one such park. [15] This law was repealed in 2019. [16]

In the U.S. state of Minnesota, the State Fair 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 school children to show 4-H projects at the Fair. [17]

In U.S. sports, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of many fall sports. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams usually play their first games that weekend, and the National Football League (NFL) traditionally play their kickoff game the Thursday following Labor Day. The Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association 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 held in Flushing Meadows, New York.

In fashion, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day when it is acceptable to wear white [18] or seersucker. [19] [20]

There are numerous events and activities organized in major cities. For example, New York offers the Labor Day Carnival, and fireworks over Coney Island. [21] In Washington, one popular event is the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with free attendance [22]

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 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. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Labour Day annual holiday

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Fiestas Patrias in Mexico originated in the 19th century and are observed today as five public holidays.

Fathers Day celebration honoring fathers

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Public holidays in Australia are declared on a state and territory basis.

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."

Federal holidays in the United States

In the United States, a federal holiday is an authorized holiday which has been recognized by the US government. Every year on a U.S. federal holiday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, and every federal employee is paid for the holiday. Private-sector employees required to work on a legal holiday may receive holiday pay in addition to their ordinary wages.

Public holidays in New Zealand Wikimedia list article

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Casimir Pulaski Day holiday reserved in Illinois on the first Monday of every March in memory of Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski

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Queens Official Birthday public holiday on which the birthday of the monarch of the Commonwealth realms is celebrated

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Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions

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Workweek and weekend parts of the week devoted to labour and rest, respectively

The workweek and weekend are the complementary parts of the week devoted to labor and rest, respectively. The legal working week, or workweek, is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most of the world, the workweek is from Monday to Friday and the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but other divisions exist: for example, many countries observing a Sunday to Thursday or even Monday to Thursday working week. A weekday or workday is any day of the working week. Other institutions often follow this pattern, such as places of education. Sometimes the term "weekend" is expanded to include the time after work hours on the last workday of the week; e.g. Friday evening is often referred to as the start of the weekend. The weekend has had varying definitions, such as commencing after 5pm on Friday evening and lasting until Sunday 12pm.

The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, was a social movement to regulate the length of a working day, preventing excesses and abuses. It had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life. The use of child labour was common. The working day could range from 10 to 16 hours, and the work week was typically six days a week. Robert Owen had raised the demand for a ten-hour day in 1810, and instituted it in his socialist enterprise at New Lanark. By 1817 he had formulated the goal of the eight-hour day and coined the slogan: "Eight hours' labour, Eight hours' recreation, Eight hours' rest". Women and children in England were granted the ten-hour day in 1847. French workers won the 12-hour day after the February Revolution of 1848. A shorter working day and improved working conditions were part of the general protests and agitation for Chartist reforms and the early organisation of trade unions.

The May Day riots of 1894 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1, 1894. Cleveland's unemployment rate increased dramatically during the Panic of 1893. Finally, riots broke out among the unemployed who condemned city leaders for their ineffective relief measures. According to the New York Times, "[t]he desire to stop work seemed to take possession of every laborer..." on May Day of 1894.

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In some provinces of Canada, Family Day is a statutory holiday occurring on the third Monday in February. In the provinces of British Columbia (BC), Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan it is observed as Family Day. In three other provinces, the same day is a statutory holiday but celebrated for different reasons: Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Nova Scotia Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, and Islander Day in Prince Edward Island. Two-thirds of Canadians live in a province that observes a February statutory holiday. In the United States, Presidents Day is also celebrated on the third Monday in February. Some provinces have changed the observance day of their holiday to match the other provinces and/or the American holiday.

Washingtons Birthday Public holiday in the USA

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References

  1. U.S. Department of Labor, "Labor Daze - Pride, Chaos and Kegs on Labor’s First ‘Day’"
  2. 1 2 3 The Bridgemen's magazine. International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers. 1921. pp. 443–444. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  3. Philip S. Foner (1986). May Day: A Short History of the International Workers' Holiday, 1886–1986. New York: International Publishers. pp. 41–43. ISBN   0-7178-0624-3.
  4. Rothman, Lily (May 1, 2017). "The Bloody Story of How May Day Became a Holiday for Workers". Time. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  5. 1 2 "Origin of Labor Day", Cincinnati Tribune, September 1, 1895, Special Labor Day supplement, p. 26.
  6. 1 2 "United States Department of Labor: The History of Labor Day". Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 P.J. McGuire, "Labor Day – Its Birth and Significance", The Union Agent [Kentucky], vol. 3, no. 9 (Sept. 1898), p. 1.
  8. Zagorsky, Jay (August 29, 2017). "Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day?". The Conversation US. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  9. 1 2 Philip S. Foner, May Day: A Short History of the International Workers' Holiday. New York: International Publishers, 1986; p. 19.
  10. Sally Kohn (September 1, 2014). Why Labor Day was a political move. CNN. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  11. "Knights of Labor". Progressive Historians. September 3, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  12. "Labor Day marks unofficial end of rainy summer". WBIR-TV10. September 2, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2016.[ permanent dead link ]
  13. "Labor Day: The Last (and Best) Chance for a Summer Vacation". Travelocity.
  14. Charles, C. M.; Senter, Gail W. (2008). Elementary classroom management. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. p. 20. ISBN   978-0-205-51071-9. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  15. Freed, Benjamin (August 25, 2014). ""Kings Dominion Law" Still Reigns in Virginia". Washingtonian. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  16. Smith, Max (March 21, 2019). "With repeal of Kings Dominion law, Va. schools can now start before Labor Day". WTOP News. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  17. "Commonly asked questions". www.mpls.k12.mn.us. Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  18. Laura FitzPatrick (September 8, 2009). "Why We Can't Wear White After Labor Day". Time Magazine . Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  19. Bell, Johnathan (May 9, 2011). "An Introduction to Seersucker for Men". Guy Style Guide. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  20. O'Brien, Glenn. "Daytime wedding after Labor Day: Is it OK to wear a light beige suit to a daytime wedding after Labor Day?". GQ. The Style Guy. Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  21. "Labor Day Weekend". rove.me.
  22. "20+ Ways to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in Washington, DC". Destination DC.
  23. "Labor Day Intention Still Holds Meaning". Tri Parish Times. August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.

Bibliography