On Monday September 4th, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor celebrates and honors the greatest worker in the world – the American worker. Labor Day 2023 is the 129th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday.
The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21st, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment.
More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5th, 1883.
By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28th, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.
[Source: U. S. Department of Labor]
As we celebrate the American Worker this weekend, The Green Bay News Network hopes you will take time to enjoy family, neighbors, and friends.
When we take such time for each other, we discover anew the true value of our labor. Whatever work we do, is part of our contribution to our community, to our nation, and to the world.
Let’s appreciate each other and the many tasks, jobs, and accomplishments that have been undertaken and successfully completed by American Workers!