Labor Day was first celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882. Two years later, in 1884, it was celebrated on the now-traditional first Monday in September. Originally celebrated in New York, by 1885, it had spread to many industrial centers of the country.
There is some dispute as to who first proposed the Labor Day holiday. Some records show that it was Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, who was first in suggesting a holiday top honor those ‘who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold”
But McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Recent research shows that the originator of Labor Day may have been Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J. Maguire may have proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted the proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
By 1894, 23 states had adopted Labor Day legislation and in June of that year, Congress passed Federal legislation recognizing the first Monday in September as Labor Day. So, as you take your final trip to the beach, or fire up the grill for your Labor Day picnic, take a moment to commemorate the founders of Labor Day, both of them!
Source:US Department of Labor
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