Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Trivia

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. - Douglas Pagels

Happy Labor Day! In keeping with the holiday spirit, I thought I’d post some Labor Day Trivia which I picked up from the Department of Labor’s site for you to use to impress your family and friends during your activities today.

Labor Day, a creation of the labor movement, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers and their contribution to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

I thought our country kept better records, but the most curious thing I discovered is that no one knows who to acknowledge for this end of the summer holiday. It seems we owe our gratitude to either a Mr. McGuire or a Mr. Maguire. Similar names, but two different people.

According to the site: “Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

"But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.”

The first observance was a parade in New York City on Tuesday, Sept, 5, 1882, in which 10,000 workers took an unpaid day off in order to participate.

Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day a law in 1887.

In 1894, Congress passed a bill which was signed by President Grover Cleveland designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Canada celebrates Labour Day on the same day.

Other large industrialized nations celebrate a similar concept, though sometimes the celebration is combined with May Day.

One last major tidbit—according to several sites I visited while researching the day—it’s no longer a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day.

To find out more details about the day, visit the Department of Labor . To see a photo of a circa 1900s Labor Day Parade in Buffalo New York, visit the Library of Congress. And for the latest statistics about our workers, visit the U.S. Census Bureau.

I hope everyone who has the day off today is able to enjoy the holiday with friends and family or in whatever version of sliding down the rainbow that makes your day a good one.

How will you be celebrating?

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope to see you again next Monday.

Tags: Pagels, Labor Day Trivia, Labor movement, Peter McGuire, Matthew Maguire, Department of Labor,

12 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

I'm surprised there aren't better records than that to know who started Labor Day. Hope you have a fun and relaxing day.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I would have thought there would be better records, but I am glad they do have a holiday to celebrate Labour.

Have a great Labour Day, Jane.

Carol Kilgore said...

Who knows what else the government thinks it knows but doesn't. Or vice versa. Have a wonderful holiday. Hermine is bringing rain to our cookout.

Glynis said...

Well thank you Jane. You have just given me a little tidbit of US history, in roughly the era I am writing about.

Enjoy your day!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Mason and Rayna, I'm certainly no authority on the subject, but I’m thinking the similar names added to the confusion of who to credit.

Carol, good point! We’re having rain as well, but we can’t blame Hermine – It’s simply that time of the year.

Glad I could help out, Glynis.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I enjoyed it with friends, thanks!

Helen Ginger said...

It's too bad we don't know who to thank for this holiday.

My husband and I took the time off to drive to a nearby town for lunch. It was a beautiful day when we went into the restaurant. The waiter sat us next to the windows overlooking the falls and a river. It began to rain, but the swimmers just kept on playing. Then when we left, the rain stopped.

It was a No Labor Day for us.

arlee bird said...

My wife and I went out for lunch but mostly just stayed here, where I frantically tried to keep up with all of the blogging activity that was going on this weekend.
Now back to the regular schedule.

Lee
Tossing It Out

DazyDayWriter said...

Hi Jane, would you believe we played Scrabble yesterday? But my husband, John, is pretty good at this game, so it was fun. Strangely enough, we used ALL the tiles and tied in scoring! (By the way, is banc a "real word" in scrabble, or how about sizer or tsar v. czar?) Good to stop by, Jane! Hope you have a lovely week.

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks for the history lesson. A fun blog to read. I worked my butt off over the weekend holiday and am just now getting back up to speed in the world og Blogdom. Hope everyone had fun with family and friends.

Stephen Tremp

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

Enid Wilson said...

In Sydney, we have labour day in May. So when I tried to contact my American editor on 6 Sept, I received a "Go BBQ" auto-reply from her.

My Darcy Mutates…

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world