Why doesn’t the United States have Labor Day on May 1?
Labor Day is a public holiday that many people spend with picnics and other outings with their families and friends.
This day has strong historical roots that go back to the 19th century, when workers fought for the right to better working conditions and shorter work hours.
Labor Day is celebrated on May 1 around the world to honor those who were part of the organized labor movement. In the US, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September because of its historical importance.
What was the first Labor Day?
In the late 1800s, Labor Day was first marked by activists and some states as an unofficial holiday. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day part of the law.
But New York was the first state to introduce a bill to recognize Labor Day. Later, at the end of 1887, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York did the same.
In the US, Labor Day is thought to have been started by Peter J. McGuire, who was a union head and started the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
In New York City in September 1882, 10,000 workers joined a parade.
In May 1886, a group of socialist workers got into a fight with the police in Chicago. This is known as the Haymarket Riot or Haymarket Massacre. This became a sign of the fight for workers’ rights. In 1889, the Second International agreed that May 1 should be International Workers’ Day.
It didn’t take more than five years for fights and rising anger to force US President Grover Cleveland to sign a law making Labor Day, which some states were already celebrating on the first Monday of September.
Since socialist trade unions and workers already celebrated May 1 as Labor Day, US President Grover Cleveland didn’t want the holiday to fall in the same month as the Haymarket Riot, so he picked September instead.
Joshua Freeman, a labor historian and professor emeritus at the City University of New York, told CNN that the holiday started when unions started to get stronger again after the slump of the 1870s.
In New York City, two things happened at the same time that helped start Labor Day. First, the Central Labor Union, which no longer exists, was set up as a “umbrella body” for unions in all trades and ethnic groups.
Also, the Knights of Labor, who had the biggest national labor convention at the time, held a convention in the city with a big parade. But the parade was on a Tuesday at the beginning of September, and Freeman said that many people couldn’t go because they had to work.
The convention was a big success, and unions all over the country started having their own labor celebrations at the beginning of September, usually on the first Monday of the month.
In 1894, Congress passed a rule making Labor Day, which is always the first Monday in September, a legal holiday.