|Labor Day FAQs
Q: When was Labor Day first celebrated in the United States?
A: After the first Labor Day in New York City, celebrations began to spread to other states as workers fought to win workplace rights and better working conditions and wages at a time when they had little power. ??In 1893, New York City workers took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day. The following year, 12,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the Pullman railway company and two workers were shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals.??In what most historians call an election-year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, shortly after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday. Cleveland lost the election.
Q: When did Labor Day become a national holiday?
A: After the first Labor Day in New York City, celebrations began to spread to other states as workers fought to win workplace rights and better working conditions and wages at a time when they had little power. In 1893, New York City workers took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day. The following year, 12,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the Pullman railway company and two workers were shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals. In what most historians call an election year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, shortly after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday.
Q: Who founded Labor Day?
A: That’s a matter of dispute among historians. Some say Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested a day to honor workers. Others credit Matthew Maguire, a machinist who served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
Q: Is Labor Day just about unions?
A: No. The U.S. Department of Labor describes Labor Day this way: “It is a creation of the labor movement and is 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.”
Q: What international holiday is Labor Day’s closet relative?
?A: May Day. In 1889, a workers’ congress in Paris voted to support the U.S. labor movement’s demand for an eight-hour workday. It chose May 1, 1890, as a day of demonstrations in favor of the eight-hour day. Afterward, May 1 became a holiday called Labor Day in many nations. It resembles the September holiday in the United States.
|Welcome to Your Website
About Your Local
Teamsters Local Union 355 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, America's most powerful labor organization with more than 1.4 million members nationwide.
Originally chartered in 1933, Local 355 currently represents more than 6,000 men and women employed in private and public sectors of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. We represent our members in the areas of contract administration, contract service, and organizing.
Our membership is as diverse as the communities in which we live.
Our members are engaged in a wide range of occupations in industries that include:
• Small Parcel Delivery
• Car Haul
• Institutional Food Service
• Liquor & Wine Delivery
• Toll Facilities
• Car Rental
• Food Production
• Candy & Tobacco Delivery
• Bakery Distribution
• Airport Transportation
• Paper Supply
• Newspaper Production
• Hospital Services
• Moving & Storage
• County Sheriff's Department
• County Fire Department
• County Parks Department
• Correctional Facilities
• Poultry Processing & Delivery
• Meat Processing & Delivery
• Frozen Food Warehouse/Delivery
• State & Municipal Departments
Our primary goals are to negotiate - and maintain – strong employment conditions with good wages and benefits so that all classes of workers – and their employers – will benefit.
We encourage you to come back and visit us often, for it is here where you will be kept informed on local issues and learn more about the labor environment at the local, state and national levels.
And one last thing: Good communication is vital to any business in today's society, and that includes keeping two-way communication strong in our local and our union. Your shop steward, in addition to representing you in union and workplace matters, is your first line of communication and is responsible for transmitting information to the Local.
A common view is that Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Patterson, N.J. local of the International Association of Machinists proposed the holiday for workers while serving as secretary to the Central Labor Union in New York.
Debate continues to this day as to who actually originated the idea of a workers' holiday, but organized support came from the Knights of Labor, an workers' organization with nearly a million members by the 1880s. The celebration came at a time when organized labor wanted to demonstrate the strength of their burgeoning movement and inspire improvements in their working conditions.
The Knights held another NYC parade on the first day of September in 1884, designating it as the date to recognize workers every year. Workers of other organizations across America began to lobby their state and national politicians for legislation declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to designate the date as a legal holiday commemorating labor, followed by Colorado, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. By 1894, 31 states had passed legislation honoring workers.
But in 1894, railway workers went on strike to protest wage cuts and the Pullman Strike crippled the nation's railroad traffic. And in Chicago, two striking workers died at the hands of US military and US marshals dispatched to end the strike. The labor uprisings against abusive employers was a political nightmare for then President Grover Cleveland and in an effort to appease American workers, legislation sanctioning labor's holiday was rushed through Congress, and on June 28, 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday.
Still, it wasn't until 1909 that the first Monday in September became a legal holiday in all states except North Dakota and Arizona. In Louisiana, only New Orleans celebrated Labor Day. In Maryland, New Mexico and Wyoming Labor Day was celebrated at the governor's discretion.
“The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.” www.dol.gov
Page Last Updated: Sep 05, 2011 (07:19:00)