The United States of America comes together on the first Monday of September each year to celebrate Labor Day, also known as International Worker’s Day. This is an important holiday for many. Countries take a day off to acknowledge the sacrifices and achievements of their workers who contributed to the economic health, the prosperity of the country. And those who form the backbone of production and services. This is a significant day when the nations remember to acknowledge labor laws and the labor workforce’s rights while offering them a well deserved day of rest. In the USA, Labor Day began as a way of honoring the workforces across America, by the carpenter and labor union leader, Peter J. Mcguire.
The industrial revolution that sped up the modernization of many western nations was built upon the backs of hardworking labor. Labor exemplified hard work and long shifts, often up to 12 hours a day, and 7 days a week. Although this enriched the profit margins and lined pockets of industrialists and created a wealthier class, no recognition, and lesser money was served to the very labor that was the reason behind the prosperity. American locals and immigrant labor, often faced harsh working conditions and lack of basic amenities and, in some cases, even access to fresh air.
However, as manufacturing increased, prominent labor unions came into being, supporting the need for new laws to govern labor needs and re-negotiate salaries. Many of these negotiations turned violent, as politicians and industrialists who love to benefit from the labor hardly ever wish to share the spoils of their hard work with them. The infamous Haymarket riot of 1886 serves as a reminder of the violent clashes which left several policemen and workers dead. This intensified the labor unions further and led to countrywide marches towards parliament and city halls, which have since then become a time-honored tradition. The idea of a ‘worker’s holiday’ struck a similar chord with industrial institutions across America and many state governments passed resolutions recognizing the need to keep their labor unions happy and a part of the economic progress, by instituting what came to be known as ‘Labor Day’. On 28th June 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into a new law.
Labour Day is now celebrated as a holiday across the United States of America and the world, with public gatherings, music, parades, picnics, and an air of festivity on occasion.