PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Yes, it’s Labor Day, a decidedly American holiday to honor the men and women who toil each day to make the things we know and love.
Over the years it’s also become the traditional end-of-summer holiday and the starting point for kids to go back to school (although many schools now start the week before.)
But how did Labor Day become Labor Day? Glad you asked. Here’s info from History.com
It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law.
But that was 7 years after Oregon became the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the US in the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days and 7-day weeks just to earn a basic living. Kids as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills, factories and mines and earned just a fraction of what adults made — which wasn’t much.
Labor unions began in the late 18th century and organized workers’ strikers happened more frequently.
The first Labor Day parade took place on September 5, 1882. On that day, 10,000 workers took time off — unpaid — to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York.
Politicians have also used Labor Day to burnish their image with the working class. Labor Day is seen as the kickoff to each general election campaign. In 1960, JFK went to Detroit to talk with thousands and thousands of workers about his plans for the US labor market.
So when you’re at a Labor Day picnic, you can use these factoids to amaze your friends and family.
And while you’re at it, give a tip of your hat to the American worker, still working hard day in and day out.