The Origin of Labor Day

By: Megan Jones

Here at PsiNapse Technology we wish everyone a happy and restful Labor Day weekend! Let’s explore the origin of Labor Day and how it became a federal holiday.

The Origin of Labor Day

Labor Day is the annual celebration of workers and their achievements throughout America that originated during America’s most industrious period.

In the United States, during the late 1800’s was the peak of the Industrial Revolution. During this time, American workers worked 12-hours a day, seven days a week. This workload combined with miniscule wages and unsafe working conditions was exhausting. Moreover, the working age for children was five years old. These children earned a fraction of what their adult counterparts waged.

Moreover, the working conditions were unsafe, and inhumane. There was limited access to fresh air, restrooms, and there weren’t break periods.

Unsettling Unrest

Due to these conditions, in the late 1800’s there was an increase in labor unions. These unions became more vocal, organizing strikes in effort to reduce hours and negotiate a better pay. Numerous strikes engaged in rioting, resulting in injury and fatalities. Notably on September 5th, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from city hall to Union Square, holding the first Labor Day parade.

The idea of a workingman’s holiday spread in the industrial centers across the country. Many states began passing legislation recognizing this holiday. However, not all states recognized Labor Day and the strikes and rioting continued.

On May 11th, 1894 employees of the Pullman Palace Care Company in Chicago went on strike. Workers protested wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Additionally, on June 26th the American Railroad Union boycotted the railway, demolishing railroad traffic nationwide.

Finally, 12 years after the protesting began, Grover Cleveland signed Labor Day into the law on June 28th, 1894 marking it as a national Federal Holiday.

The Celebration of Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated with parties, parades, BBQ’s and the gathering of friends and family alike. To many it marks the end of summer, and the beginning of back-to-school season. However, you chose to celebrate, take this time to recognize the history and celebrate your accomplishments in the workplace!

We hope you have a wonderful Labor Day celebration!


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