Every year, people in the United States celebrate Labor Day, all with their own reasons for those celebrations. Parents celebrate children returning to school after a long summer break while teachers celebrate the start of a new school year where they will grow young minds. Children are celebrating their last few days of summer freedom and because, well, children just celebrate, it’s what they do. However, very few people know the significance behind Labor Day and why it became a national holiday.
Labor Day is celebrated the first Monday in September and was created by the labor movement. There is some question as to who first came up with the idea of Labor Day. There are some records that indicate that Peter J. McGuire, the General Secretary of the Brotherhood and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested a day to honor the hardworking individuals who helped build the nation. He is quoted as saying that a holiday needed to be identified to recognize those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” However, more recent documentation has discovered that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, actually founded the holiday.
Maguire was the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, but while he served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York in 1882, he proposed such a holiday. The Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
The first celebration was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. The first Monday in September was officially chosen as Labor Day in 1884 and was known as a “workingman’s holiday.” Municipal ordinances throughout the country were passed between 1884 and 1886 to recognize the holiday. In 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday to recognize the working class.
Today, Labor Day is celebrated in any number of ways. It is often viewed as the end of summer as many schools begin around the holiday. People celebrate with fireworks displays, barbecues or by attending sporting events. Some municipalities may hold parades or festivals to celebrate Labor Day. Often, people take their last summer vacation over the Labor Day weekend, which can increase traffic on area roads.
Many celebrations also involve alcohol which can lead to more DUI arrests or car accidents over the long weekend. Recently, there have been instances where DUI arrests over the Labor Day weekend have been higher than over New Year’s Eve or Thanksgiving, the two holidays with the highest rate of DUI arrests and crashes.
In 2014, more than 35 million people travelled over the Labor Day weekend, the highest since 2008. According to AAA, automobile travel has increased by almost two percent over the past year and many have attributed the increase in auto travel to lower gas prices. As gas prices continue to drop, vehicle travel is expected to rise even more over the next few months, so this Labor Day holiday may see even more cars on the road than normal. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe over the Labor Day holiday:
Lundy Law proudly celebrates with all the hardworking people that make this country great. We sincerely wish everyone a Safe and Happy Labor Day. However, if you or a loved one are injured in accident just remember this name – 1-800-LundyLaw.