Not much is known about the creation of Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday of September every year. It's a celebration that grew out of the 19th-century organized labor movement. Here are some interesting facts that will help you learn about Labor Day.
Origins of Labor Day
A New York City parade was conducted by various unions in September 1882, attracting over 20,000 people. It was a celebration of union membership, and this event inspired the beginning of what would become Labor Day.
Impact of the New York Parade on American Unions
This New York union parade influenced similar parades in different regions across the United States. Within five years, annual union parades led to the adoption of this day as a state holiday in five states: New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Colorado.
Effect of Haymarket Affair on Labor Day
A bomb explosion in early May 1886 at a Chicago union rally in Haymarket Square triggered violence and caused the deaths of seven law enforcement officers and four civilians. The tragedy led to various nations adopting May 1st as a "Workers Day" holiday. The United States government decided to call this holiday Labor Day and celebrate it on the first Monday of September.
New York City Union Parade Organizers
The 1882 union parade was believed to have been organized by two unrelated men with similar sounding last names (Matthew Maguire, the machinist, and Peter McGuire, the carpenter) who belonged to rival unions.
President Cleveland Introduces Labor Day
In 1894, Senator James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced a Congressional bill to make this day a national holiday. It was passed on June 28th and was signed by President Grover Cleveland. Since then, it has been celebrated as a federal holiday.
Celebration of Labor Day Today
Early celebrations of Labor Day in the 1880s emphasized parades in the urban areas to honor union workers. Today, there are fewer parades and more activities. It also signals the end of summer.
Wearing White After Labor Day
During the late 19th-century Victorian era, people found it inappropriate to wear white after Labor day as it heralded the end of summer. This tradition, however, has faded.
Interesting Connection Between Labor Day and Hot Dog
Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs from the end of May (Memorial Day) through early September (Labor Day), as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reported. After that, hot dog sales typically taper off until the following summer.
Latest Union Members Figures
Today, there are nearly 15 million union workers in the United States. The number has reduced as union membership was nearly 18 million in the early eighties.
The Largest Union in the U.S
America's largest union today is the National Education Association, which has an estimated 3 million members.
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