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
2019 dateSeptember 2  (2019-09-02)
2020 dateSeptember 7  (2020-09-07)
2021 dateSeptember 6  (2021-09-06)
2022 dateSeptember 5  (2022-09-05)
FrequencyAnnual
Related to Labour Day

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the first Monday in September to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. [1] [2] [3] It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend.

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. [4]

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 International of socialist and communist parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886. [5] [6]

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.

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. [7] 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. [7] 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. [8] [9]

Descendants of two men with similar last names claim their great-grandfather was the true father of the holiday. [9]

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, after a visit to Toronto where he saw parades celebrating labor that May [10] [11] , had put forward the initial proposal in the spring of 1882. [4] 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". [12] 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. [12] 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. [12]

Labor Day picnics and other public gatherings frequently featured speeches by prominent labor leaders. [13]

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. [8] This secondary date failed to gain significant traction in popular culture, although some churches continue to acknowledge it. [14]

The popularity of the event spread across the country. In 1887, Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday. By 1894, thirty U.S. states 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. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law on June 28. [15] [4] 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. [16] All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories have subsequently made Labor Day a statutory holiday. [17]

Labor Day vs. May Day

California Governor Gavin Newsom on International Workers Day - a.k.a. Labor Day or May Day - with a worker at American River College in 2019.

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. [18] 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. [18] The proximity of the date to the bloody Haymarket affair of May 4, 1886, further accentuated May First's radical reputation. [14]

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. [19] In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative, [20] formally adopting the date as a United States federal holiday through a law that he signed in 1894. [8]

Since the mid-1950s, the United States has celebrated Loyalty Day and Law Day on May 1. Unlike Labor Day, both are not legal public holidays (in that non-essential 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 associations hold Law Day events to celebrate the rule of law. [21] [22]

Unofficial end of summer

Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer" [23] because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. Many take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend. [24] 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). 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. [25]

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. [26] This law was repealed in 2019. [27]

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 schoolchildren to show 4-H projects at the Fair. [28]

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, [29] and the National Football League (NFL) traditionally play their kickoff game the Thursday following Labor Day. [30] 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. [31] At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association hold their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals drag race that weekend. [32] Labor Day is the middle point between weeks one and two of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships held in Flushing Meadows, New York. [33]

In fashion, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day when it is acceptable to wear white [34] or seersucker. [35] [36]

There are numerous events and activities organized in major cities. For example, New York offers the Labor Day Carnival, and fireworks over Coney Island. [37] In Washington, one popular event is the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with free attendance. [38]

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. [39]

See also

Related Research Articles

A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by governments, religious institutions, or other groups or organizations. The degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, customs, the type of job held or personal choices.

Labour Day Annual holiday

Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

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

Public holidays in Australia refer to the holidays recognised in law in Australia. Although they are declared on a state and territory basis, they comprise a mixture of nationally-celebrated days and holidays exclusive to the individual jurisdictions.

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 Calendar dates recognized as official holidays by the United States government

In the United States, a federal holiday is a calendar date that is recognized and designated by the US government as a holiday. Every year on a U.S. federal holiday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, stock market trading is usually suspended, and every federal government employee is paid for the holiday.

Easter Monday day after Easter Sunday

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Public holidays in the United States Wikimedia list article

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Queens Official Birthday Public holiday in Commonwealth realms

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The following is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Government of Russia. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.

Election Day (United States) Day for the general elections of public officials in the US

In the United States, Election Day is the annual day set by law for the general elections of federal public officials. It is statutorily set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" equalling "the first Tuesday after November 1". The earliest possible date is November 2, and the latest possible date is November 8.

Emancipation Day Holiday to celebrate emancipation of enslaved people

Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent.

In the United Kingdom, public holidays are days on which most businesses and non-essential services are closed. Many retail businesses do open on some of the public holidays. There are restrictions on trading on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales and on New Year's Day and Christmas Day in Scotland. Public holidays defined by statute are called bank holidays, but this term can also be used to include common law holidays, which are held by convention. The term "public holidays" can refer exclusively to common law holidays.

Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions predecessor of AFL and AFL-CIO (1881-1886)

The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada (FOTLU) was a federation of labor unions created on November 15, 1881, at Turner Hall in Pittsburgh. It changed its name to the American Federation of Labor (AFL) on December 8, 1886.

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 observe 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 5 pm on Friday evening and lasting until 6 pm on Sunday night.

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. At that time, the working day could range from 10 to 16 hours, the work week was typically six days a week and the use of child labour was common. 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.

Uniform Monday Holiday Act US Congressional act regarding federal holidays

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act is an Act of Congress that moved permanently to a Monday three Federal holidays in the United States -- Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day -- and that made Columbus Day a federal holiday, also permanently on a Monday. This created long weekends with three days off ending with the holidays, such as Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend.

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.

International Workers Day Celebration in the international labour movement on May Day

International Workers' Day, also known as 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 and occurs every year on May Day.

Holidays with paid time off in the United States Wikipedia list article

In the United States there are a number of observed holidays where employees receive paid time off. The labor force in the United States comprises about 62% of the general population. In the United States, 97% of the private sector businesses determine what days this sector of the population gets paid time off, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. The following holidays are observed by the majority of US businesses with paid time off: New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after, Christmas Eve and Christmas. There are also numerous holidays on the state and local level that are observed to varying degrees.

References

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Bibliography