Labor Day 2022: History, Significance and Observance

Labor Day which falls annually on every first Monday of September is a federal holiday in US celebrated to recognize the American labor movement

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on every first Monday of September to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers regarding to the development and achievements of the United States. 

So this year it falls on 5th September and it is a three-day event as well and hence it is also called as the Labor-Day weekend. It is also celebrated in the neighbouring Canada at the same time but in most of the world Labor Day is actually observed on May 1st. 

It recognizes the American labor movement throughout times as it is because of those movements workers working conditions were improved and that's why workers today enjoys eight-hour workday, paid leave, security cover, etc. And it might not sound much but once it was hard to even imagine for laborers in getting these things. 

Event Labor Day
Date September 5, 2022
Day Monday
Significance The day honors and celebrates laborers for their contributions to the economy
Observed by United States


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Labor Day History: 

There are very disagreements behind the origin of Labor Day but we know that when it officially got declared as a public holiday. And one thing is sure that the movement behind its creation was pushed in the 1880s and this eventually led it to become a federal holiday by 1894. 

According to one earlier history of Labor Day, the event originated in connection with a General Assembly of the Knights of Labor which took place in New York City in September 1882. In connection with this secret Knights assembly, a public parade of various labor organizations was held on September 5 with the help of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York. Then, CLU Secretary Matthew Maguire proposed that a national Labor Day holiday be held on the first Monday of each September to mark this successful public demonstration.

There is another version of story behind its origins too. And it says that Labor Day in September was proposed by Peter J. McGuire, a vice president of the American Federation of Labor. In spring 1882, McGuire reportedly proposed a “general holiday for the laborers” to the CLU, and he further recommended that the event should begin with a street parade as a public demonstration of organized labor's solidarity and strength, with the march followed by a picnic, through which by participating in it local unions could sell tickets as a fundraiser and get some extra earnings. And he proposed it to be celebrated on first Monday of September as it was an ideal weather according to him and was the perfect moment to celebrate it between the Independence Day and Thanksgiving. 

However legally the holiday got official recognition only in 1887, when Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday. By 1894, thirty U.S. states were already officially celebrating Labor Day. In that year, Congress passed a bill recognizing the first Monday of September as Labor Day and making it an official federal holiday to be celebrated all across the country since then. 


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Labor Day Significance: 

But we should remember that the establishment of a Labor Day was not a piece of cake for laborers as they had to fight long and hard battles for securing their rights and this struggle is only called as the American Labor Movement and this day pays a tribute to this movement as this movement was very crucial in bringing change in the very harsh US Labor laws of that time. So let's remember some of the events which played huge role during the the American Labor Movement: 

Haymarket Affair: 

On May 4, 1886 the situation was so bad that most American laborers worked 18 or even 20 hours a day and so tens of thousands of workers protested in cities all across the U.S. to demand an eight-hour workday. But thse protests met with heavy retaliation by the police force at Chicago when they attacked both peaceful protests and a workers planning meetings, randomly beating and shooting at the planning group and killing six. And only in the next evening in Haymarket Square, outraged Chicagoans and police clashed again which resulted in deaths of many. 

The Pullman Strike: 

The strike happened in May 1894 in the town of Pullman, Chicago, a factory location established by luxury railroad car manufacturer the Pullman Company. The inequality of the town very easy to notice. Company owner George Pullman lived in a mansion while most laborers stayed in barracks-style dormitories. When a nationwide depression hit in 1893, Pullman decided to cut costs the way a lot of executives at the time and he did by lowering wages of workers by almost 30% while he kept the rent on the dormitories he leased to his workers at the same levels. 

And this Pullman Strike had a huge impact in the change of working conditions and in forcing the US government to adopt new labor policy with various reforms benefiting labors. As in return they boycotted the railroad and got support from the American Rail Union(ARU). And then in September 1882 the US government established the US Labor Day. 

Labor Day Vs May Day: 

There was a very heated debate between Labor Day and May Day once however today most labor organizations celebrates the both and around the world most countries celebrates May Day on 1st May. Because initially May Day was seen as communist or socialist organizations and it also marked the Haymarket Affair. But the US government opposed it for its war against Communism. However as said earlier today it is not that intense issue and workers generally celebrates both events as a way to honour worker but yes in US Labor Day is holiday recognized by state while in many other countries May Day is officially recognized. 


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Labor Day Observance: 

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day with parades, picnics, parties and various festivities very similar to those outlined by the first proposal for a holiday, which suggested that the day should be observed with a street parade to exhibit "the strength, spirit and pride of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families through a picnic. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day and still followed today by many. 

During this event many labor organizations and groups across the country also address their labor communities smd the other people as well through their speeches telling them about the importance of the day and sometimes also use it as a platform to raise their voice demanding for further reforms in labor laws. 

This day also works as a way to raise awareness regarding the contribution of the labors in American society and it is seen that often labor are not that credited for their role by other Americans and that's why laborers and workers should be treated with rightful respect and Americans should also support their labors by buying more made in American products as American manufacturing sector is shrinking in recent years and many of laborers because of it are also losing their jobs so support them. 

And as it is a day-off so many Americans simply enjoy their day by doing many recreational activities such as dining, drinking, going to parks or theme parks, watching movies, and some carnivals also takes place during this time so they also takes participation in those events. 

Most Searched FAQs on Labor Day: 

1. When is Labor Day is observed? 

Labor Day is annually celebrated in every first Monday of September in US. 

2. When is May Day is observed? 

May Day(Labour Day) is annually observed on 1st of May. 

3. When is Labor Day 2022? 

Labor Day in 2022 falls on 5th of September. 

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