Labor Day: Honoring American Workers

It’s Labor Day – the first Monday in September – and the US is recognizing the many citizens who work hard and contribute toward our country’s strength and prosperity. I hope MMT readers are enjoying a well-deserved day of respite.

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It’s Labor Day – the first Monday in September – and the US is recognizing the many citizens who work hard and contribute toward our country’s strength and prosperity. I hope MMT readers are enjoying a well-deserved day of respite.

The US government first adopted Labor Day as a national holiday in June 1894, following the lead of more than half of the states that individually legislated it as a holiday. As it happens, the first state to introduce a Labor Day bill was New York, and many believe that this is because a machinist by the name of Matthew Maguire proposed the idea while he was serving as secretary of the New York Central Labor Union in 1882. While it’s strongly believed that Maguire is the founder of Labor Day, there are many who say a carpenter named Peter McGuire was the first to suggest it. McGuire served as general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and also co-founded the American Federation of Labor.

No matter which story you believe (I’m inclined to believe the machinist, but I’m biased), Labor Day quickly spread in popularity across the nation, especially in heavily industrial regions. In its early days, Labor Day was celebrated with parades featuring floats that represented trade and labor organizations, speeches by various union officials, educators, industrialists and government folk, as well as a festival for the enjoyment of US workers and their families. Today it’s a bit less exciting, but its significance should never be lost on those who spend a great part of their lives adding value to the US fabric of freedom, prosperity and national pride.

So here’s to you, MMT readers, and Happy Labor Day!

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