Labor Day is a holiday most Americans can get behind! Yeah, it sadly means that summer is coming to a close, but it’s also a day that holds so much meaning. For one, it’s just another excuse to enjoy all the fun things to do on Labor Day such as eat our favorite grilled foods, host pool parties, and put those fun summer Instagram captions to good use. Count us in! And while it’s certainly a day worth celebrating for all those reasons, there’s a bit more history behind the meaning of Labor Day, too. So, here’s everything you need to know about the summer holiday, including when is Labor Day in 2023?
Labor Day celebrates the women and men who campaigned tirelessly for workers’ rights in the labor movement of the late 19th century. Their hard-fought wins are the reason for many of the rights we enjoy and take for granted today, such as a 40-hour work week, safe work conditions, paid time off, and sick leave. Those workers saw that there could be no freedom and liberty in this country without economic freedom for the working class. The holiday honors the source of this nation’s strength—American workers, unions, and labor leaders. No matter how you decide to celebrate Labor Day 2023, take some time to reflect and pay tribute to all the laborers, past and present, who helped build America and make it the country it is today.
Labor Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1894, but by that time thirty states already officially celebrated the holiday. Labor Day was created by members of the labor movement, who organized strikes and rallies to fight for better working conditions amid the Industrial Revolution, according to the History Channel.
On September 5, 1882, New York City union leaders organized what is now considered the country’s first Labor Day parade, according to National Geographic. On this day, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march through the streets of New York City, in an event culminating in a picnic, fireworks, and dancing. Organizers declared the day “a general holiday for the workingmen of this city.” Their idea spread across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing the workers’ holiday.
It wasn’t until 1894, however, that Congress legalized the holiday following the Pullman strike, a nationwide railroad boycott that turned fatal and shined a national spotlight on workers’ rights. Amid this massive unrest, Congress sought to make peace with American workers by passing an act making Labor Day a legal holiday. President Grover Cleveland officially signed it into law on June 28, 1894. Strangely enough, The Department of Labor was created after Labor Day became a holiday, and it was the first department to be led by a woman: Francis Perkins.
More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day remains unknown, although many credit labor union leader Peter J. McGuire for the idea. The world may never know this detail, but now you know enough about Labor Day to truly celebrate everything it stands for.
information taken from the pioneer woman and cnn.