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On this day in history: Labor Day

Here in NYC if you subscribe to Time Warner Cable, their NY1 local news station always does a quick "This day in NY history" segment. So, we've decided to do our own version here on the House Party Blog, but we're going back in time and spanning the globe. Since today is Labor Day, a day most of us probably associate with a day off, we thought we'd give you a bit more to chew on including when and where the holiday began and the historic significance. Impress your friends with your historical acumen on Labor Day history:

What is Labor Day? It's a creation of the labor movement that's dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

When and how did it begin? The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was passed by Oregon in 1887. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Whose idea was it? More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, the founder of this observance is still in doubt. 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 many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that 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.

To this day, there is no clear founder. But here's more fodder for you conspiracy theorists.

Got any other cool facts from Labor Day history? Share them here.



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