Labor Day is the day dedicated to the working class across the world. While in India, and other countries of the world celebrate labor day on May 1, the United States celebrates the day on the first Monday of September. Many Americans use the day to celebrate the end of summer and would be surprised to know the day has its roots in the labor movement of the late 1800s.
It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.
History of Labor Day in the US:
The day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
According to America’s carpenters and construction workers, along with some historians, 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 first suggested a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
However, others believe that Matthew Maguire no relation to Peter J. McGuire a machinist who would later be elected secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey proposed Labor Day in 1882 while serving as secretary of New York’s Central Labor Union.
Why do Americans observe Labor Day in September, not in May?
Following the Haymarket affair, a strong anti-union movement arose in the United States. Over the years, May Day became more associated with the political far left, while Labor Day, held in September, was recognized by a growing number of municipalities and states. When the United States began to seriously consider creating a national holiday for workers, U.S. President Grover Cleveland did not want to choose the May date because of its association with the Haymaker bombing, so instead picked the alternative day in September.