Who is Responsible for Labor Day?


Believe it or not there is some controversy as to where Labor Day came from.  Who was the first person to come up with the idea?

Before we dive into that lets talk about the history first!  The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in September 5th, 1882 in New York City.  Two years later is when the practice of the first Monday in September became the common practice.  Labor Day as a holiday quickly spread to many other industrialized centers of the country.   This was some time after the official industrial revolution, which ended in the mid 1800’s, but the country was going very strong on factorized labor and thus made laborers the foundation of the country.

The year would be 1909 when Labor Day became a national holiday.  It was first observed by parades and community parties.  As the years went on it would develop into more travel for the long weekend and key note speakers at union halls and chamber of commerce meetings.  All the way through today the focus of Labor Day remains on those who work daily for their pay check.

Labor Day, like many holidays is however not without its controversies.  The origin of who suggested the first Labor Day are still in question to this day.  Originally it was thought that Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and co-founder of The American Federation of Labor, was the first to suggest the holiday.  He said the holiday was to celebrate those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

However there is some question if it was Mr. McGuire or Mr. Matthew Macguire.  Matthew was serving as the Secretary of The Central Labor Union in New York in 1882 when the first Labor Day legislation came to be.  Because of this and some recent research there is growing support that Macguire not McGuire was the original person to first suggest the holiday.




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