Labor Day

First Monday in September

Honors the working people.


Two men have been credited with suggesting a holiday to honor working people in the US:

Peter McGuire, and Matthew Maguire, a machinist from Paterson, New Jersey.

1872 McGuire and 100.000 workers went on strike, demanding a decrease in the working hours. He went on speaking to workers and unemployed people, lobbying the city government for jobs and relief money. He became known as the disturber of the public peace.

1881 McGuire moved to St. Louis, Missouri and begun to organize carpenters. Eventually a national union of carpenters was founded in Chicago and McGuire became General Secretary of the United brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The idea of organizing workers according to their trades spread around the country. McGuire and laborers in other cities planned a holiday for workers on the first Mon. in Sept., halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

Sept. 5, 1882 the first L-Day parade was held in New York City with 20.000 participants carrying banners that read 8 h for work, 8 h for rest, 8 h for recreation. Both Maguire and McGuire played an important part in staging this parade. Within the next few years the idea spread and all states celebrated.

1887 Oregon became the first state to make it a public holiday.

1894 President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making it a federal public holiday.


A federal public holiday throughout the US and Puerto Rico. Labor organizations sponsor various celebrations, but for most people it’s a day of rest and recreation. Many Americans consider it the end of the summer. Today many politicians kick off their political campaigns by holding rallies on L-Day.