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Friday, 4 December 2015

Labor Day

Peter J. McGuire, an Irish-American general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, is considered by many to be the Father of the Labor Day holiday. He wanted citizens that “labored” all year long to be acknowledged and have a day to relax. After witnessing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada, he suggested during a Central Labor Union on May 18, 1882: "Let us have, a festive day during which a parade through the streets of the city would permit public tribute to American Industry."

Others believe that a machinist called Matthew Maguire founded the holiday. They contend that Maguire proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

The first Labor Day happened way back on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. 10,000 workers marched through New York City before a picnic, concert, and speeches at a park. Many of them lost a day's pay in order to participate.

Worker unions chose the first Monday in September because it meant time off between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

Labor Day received its first official recognition by local governments. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday in 1887.

It wasn't until June 28, 1894 that Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

Even though Labor Day is considered the unofficial end to summer, the autumnal equinox does not begin until September 21.

Labor Day is celebrated on a different day in most countries. Many choose May Day, which is on May 1, as their day to honor working people. Socialists, communists and other like-minded people celebrate it as International Workers' Day. The date was chosen for International Workers' Day by the Second International, a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties, to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886. The Haymarket affair was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration for which eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy and four were hanged.

May Day demonstration in Lyon, France

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