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Why US does not celebrate Labor Day on May first? here are the details

Why US does not celebrate Labor Day on May first? here are the details

Labor Day is a significant public holiday, widely observed by families and friends who gather to enjoy picnics and outings. Its origins date back to the 19th century, when laborers fought for better working conditions and reduced working hours. Today, it is celebrated on May 1st worldwide to honor the organized labor movement, while in the United States, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September, highlighting its historical significance.

Why US does not celebrate Labor Day on May first

 

The celebration of Labor Day began unofficially in the late 19th century, with activists and some states recognizing it. Oregon was the first state to enact Labor Day into law in 1887, with New York introducing a bill to recognize it shortly thereafter. Other states, including Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, followed suit by the end of that year. The concept of Labor Day in the US is attributed to Peter J. McGuire, a union leader and founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

In September 1882, a parade was held in New York City, with 10,000 workers joining in. Later that same year, on May 1st, socialist workers were involved in a violent confrontation with the police in Chicago. This event, known as the Haymarket Riot or Haymarket Massacre, became a symbol of workers’ struggle for their rights, leading to May 1st being designated as International Workers’ Day by the Second International in 1889.

In the US, it took five years for growing resentment and struggle to result in President Grover Cleveland signed legislation to establish Labor Day. President Cleveland chose the first Monday of September, as socialist trade unions and workers already marked May 1st as Labor Day, and he was uncomfortable with the month of the Haymarket Riot being associated with the holiday.

Labor Day developed as unions began to strengthen again following the 1870s recession. Two events in New York City converged to contribute to the formation of Labor Day. The Central Labor Union was formed as an “umbrella body” for unions across trades and ethnic groups. Additionally, the Knights of Labor, then the largest national labor convention, held a convention in the city, complete with a large parade. However, the parade was on a Tuesday at the start of September, making it difficult for many workers to attend. Unions around the country began to hold their own labor celebrations at the start of September, usually on the first Monday of the month.

In 1894, Congress passed a law making the first day of September a legal holiday called Labor Day.

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