As is the tradition every first Monday of the month of September, September 4 marks the anniversary of Labor Day in the United States, better known as Labor Day in English.
Through this celebration, the beginning of the labor movement is commemorated as well as the achievements obtained by and for the workers, making it one of the most relevant holidays at the national level, in addition to informally marking the end of summer. But do you know its origin?
The origins of Labor Day date back to 1886, after the rise of the Industrial Revolution, when the first labor strike in the United States took place, known in history as the Haymarket Revolt or Haymarket Massacre.
The movement began on May 1, 1886. Through this first strike, the workers demanded better working conditions since the average American employee was forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Furthermore, they do not have the right to ask for breaks, and the conditions under which they often work are poor and deplorable, which led to strikes and rallies that resulted in the formation of unions.
According to various historians, the ‘Chicago Martyrs’ were responsible for organizing these strikes. Among their main demands are the reduction of the working day to eight hours a day, as well as an increase in wages, the prohibition of child labor, and the recognition of the rights of women and organizations in the union. However, their struggle to achieve job advancements led to their murder.
According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the first celebration of Labor Day took place through the Labor Day parade in New York City on September 5, 1882, which led to the desire of the Central Labor Union organization and others to create a holiday in honor of the working community.
Why is Labor Day in the USA celebrated in September and not in May?
Since the Haymarket Riot happened at the beginning of May, many countries mark the celebration of Labor Day on the first day of the fifth month of the year; however, in the United States, it is different, with the celebration happening until the first Monday in September. But why is this so?
In 1894, the 22nd president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, signed a law making Labor Day a federal holiday. The date was set for the first Monday of September to “not strengthen the revolutionary and socialist character” at the beginning of the commemoration, according to various historians. In addition to bridging the gap between existing holidays, there is a large blank period between Independence Day (July 4) and Thanksgiving (November).