like most people, you celebrate Labor Day every year by doing
fun before summer ends. But how much do you really know about Labor
Labor Day – a Canadian import?
United States, we tend to think of Labor Day as a thoroughly American
holiday, but Labor Day actually has its roots in Canada. The
shorten the average workday from 12 hours to nine started in
Ontario, but quickly spread to Toronto, where it became a central
the Toronto Printer’s Union.
When did Labor Day become a national holiday?
On June 28, 1894, Congress passed a bill that designated the first Monday
an annual federal holiday to celebrate the social and economic
of American workers and their contributions to the strength and
of the nation.
When was the first observance of Labor Day?
observance of Labor Day was a parade on September 5, 1882, in New York
probably organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union
Giving workers an eight-hour day
labor unions had been calling for an eight-hour work day for many
various legislative attempts had been made to establish shorter
without much widespread success. It wasn’t until 1916, when Congress
Adamson Act, that the eight-hour work day gained a foothold in U.S.
law as well
as American culture. The Act established an eight-hour work day,
additional pay for overtime, for employees who operated trains for
railway carriers. The Adamson Act was the first federal legislation
United States that regulated the hours of workers in private companies.
When Congress created Labor Day in 1894, and decreed that it would fall on the
in September every year, it was also creating what would eventually
three-day weekend for most Americans. At the time, most U.S. workers
at least six days per week, so at best the new Labor Day holiday
only two consecutive days off.
How is Labor Day different from other holidays?
to Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of
Labor Day is the only holiday that celebrates the common man (and
religion, a war anniversary, or the birth or death of a famous
he wrote in The New York Times on September 4, 1910: “Among all the
of the year, of all the days commemorative of great epochs in the
history, of all the days celebrated for one cause or another, there is
which stands so conspicuously for social advancement of the common
the first Monday in September of each recurring year—Labor Day.”
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