Celebrating the American Worker

Celebrating the American Worker

Labor Day is not just the end of summer or a chance to break out the grill, it is a celebration of the workers that run our country.

During the height of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, workers of all ages faced unsafe working conditions; worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, with very few workers’ rights. Labor unions, which also formed around this time, began to organize strikes and rallies around the country to compel employers to renegotiate hours, pay, and working conditions.

Peter J. McGuire, the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, is considered the “father” of Labor Day. After spending years building unions across the country, he introduced a resolution calling for workers to lead a “festive parade through the streets of the city” on the first Monday of September at an 1882 meeting of the New York Central Labor Union. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 citizens marched through the streets of Manhattan for labor rights. A handful of cities joined in the celebration the next year and states slowly began adopting the holiday.

Now more than ever, we are grateful for the union leaders who have continued to stand up and celebrate American workers.