The History of Labor Day

The History of Labor Day

As Labor Day Weekend approaches it’s important to understand the meaning and history behind this National Holiday which is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Labor Day was not always a national holiday, but rather, was slowly recognized by various states around the country.  According to the United States Department of Labor, the first state to pass law declaring Labor Day a holiday was Oregon in 1887. Thereafter, four more states, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. Seven years later 23 more states had adopted the holiday. However, it was not until June 28, 1894, that Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

During the first Labor Day celebrations there was a tradition of having parades, picnics and various other celebrations in support of labor issues, such as shorter hours or to rally strikers. The labor unions were at the center of these parades as it was common during this time period for the average American to work seven days a week for approximately twelve hours a day. Additionally, during this time it was also not uncommon for young children to be working for minimal pay in unsafe conditions.

Accordingly, the parades were a way for the unions to raise awareness of the hardships American workers faced on a daily basis. To this day, Labor Day is still celebrated with parades, picnics, and other public meetings that celebrate the progress we as a country have made in regard to our working conditions as well as all of the economic achievements to date. As many people are aware, Labor Day is also known as the official end to summer celebration for many.

Whatever your Labor Day plans entail, take time to celebrate your accomplishments over the year!

*Image courtesy of Unsplash

Today's blog: Labor Day isn't just about having a 3-day weekend, it is a holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Erica Cross goes over the history of this holiday in the blog today.