History of Labor Day

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History of Labor Day 1

History of Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated in the United States each year on the first Monday in September. It is a day dedicated to the American worker and is a national tribute to the contributions all workers make to our country and our economy.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on a Tuesday (September 5, 1882), not a Monday. It was originally planned as a picnic for the Central Labor Union members. The event was a hit, but was changed to be held on a Monday in 1884 and became known as “Workman’s Holiday.”


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Controversy exists over who first proposed a national holiday for workers. Some sources state that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and founder of the American Federation of labor, was the first to recommend a national day to recognize those workers. Others believe the credit should go to Matthew Maguire, a machinist. He alleged proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

On June 28, 1894, the U.S. Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September an official holiday for American workers and proclaimed it “Labor Day.”

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