The idea of establishing a labor holiday started to spread in the late 19th century, when different labor groups and movements started to think of a day for celebrating labor. In September, 1882, the Central Labor Union (CLU) staged a parade in which different labor organizations took part. One thesis says that it was Matthew Maguire, the secretary of the CLU, who first proposed the first Monday of September to be annually observed as Labor Day. An alternative assumption is connected with another person – Peter J. McGuire, a Vice President of the American Federation of Labor. Various sources claim that it was his idea to hold a street parade in 1882, and that he suggested the perfect date for the public holiday – the first Monday of September. This is why McGuire is often considered to be the father of Labor Day in the United States.
The first state to officially accept Labor Day as a public holiday in 1887 was Oregon. Thirty other states followed, but already in 1894 it became an official federal holiday. It did not, however, mean that all workers had a day off on the first Monday of September. At first, Labor Day was only a holiday for federal workers. More or less thirty years later workers started to strike, encouraged by unions, in order to have a day off.
The holiday is federal, so all schools, Government offices and many businesses are closed. In the first years of celebrating Labor Day it was quite common to make speeches by prominent Americans. Nowadays this practice is sometimes noticed in the election years. Many people use the long weekend as a chance for the last summer trip or the last party before school. Sometimes Americans even make some small firework displays or sports events. An American worker is in the United States considered to be the cocreator of the strength of the nation, so Labor Day aims at honoring the achievements of American workers.
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