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Facts about Labor Day

Updated on September 5, 2010

It's been almost 130 years since the first Labor Day celebration in America. As the country celebrates Labor Day this year, let's take a look at some facts and trivia about the holiday.

  • Who exactly first suggested the concept of Labor Day is contested. Some people think it was Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others hold that it was Matthew Mcguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
  • The first Labor day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882, in New York, with the second observance following one year later.
  • Labor Day legislation evolved from municipal ordinances to state laws, and as more and more states got behind the movement to celebrate a day for workers, the United States Congress passed an act making it a legal holiday in 1894. All 50 states have also passed laws making it a state holiday.
  • It's possible President Grover Cleveland felt pressure to make Labor Day a national holiday after the deaths of several workers by the U.S. military and U.S. Marshalls during the Pullman Strike.
  • Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday every September.
  • Labor Day is seen as a transition of sorts for most Americans. It falls around the end of summer, the beginning of a new school year for students, and the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.

For more information on Labor Day, see the US Department of Labor's Labor Day page. Also, you can watch Secretary of Labor Secretary Solis' Labor Day 2010 address here.


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      areeeff 7 years ago

      I have no facts only family lore. My great grandfather was a dear friend of, and pallbearer to, Peter J Mcguire "He traveled the country non-stop organizing labor and petitioning for a national workers holiday. It was his life's work".

      I am certain too,Matthew Mcguires place in this great moment of U.S history was well earned. Few things like this are done alone, and they were not! UNION!!