Labor Day is celebrated in many different ways across the United States. Whether you are spending the holiday with family and friends or just enjoying the time off, here are some fun and interesting facts about the holiday and where it all started.
- The idea first became public in 1882. In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people were there, and the workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend. There was also a lot of beer involved in the event.
- The New York parade inspired other unions. Other regions started having parades, and by 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday.
- How did the Haymarket Affair influence Labor Day? On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a union rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, which led to violence that killed seven police officers and four others. The incident also led to May 1 being celebrated in most nations as Workers Day. The U.S. government chose Labor Day instead to avoid a celebration on May 1, and New York’s unions had already picked the first Monday in September for their holiday.
- Two people with similar names are credited with that first New York City event. Matthew Maguire, a machinist, and Peter McGuire, a carpenter, have been linked to the 1882 parade. The men were from rival unions; in 2011, Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor historian, said she didn’t know which man should be credited – partially because people over the years confused them because of their similar-sounding names.
- Can you wear white after Labor Day? This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era, where it was a fashion faux pas to wear any white clothing after the summer officially ended on Labor Day. The tradition isn’t really followed anymore. EmilyPost.com explains the logic behind the fashion trend – white indicated you were still in vacation mode at your summer cottage.
- Labor Day is the unofficial end of Hot Dog season. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council say that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs.
- How many people are union members today? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14.8 million union members in the workforce in 2017. There were 17.7 million in 1983.
- What is the biggest union today? The National Education Association has about 3 million people who are members, including inactive and lifetime members.
From everyone here at Alto9, we wish you a happy, fun, and relaxing labor day weekend!