News » National

Video: The History of Labor Day in America

Holiday was first proposed in 1882


The idea of celebrating the American worker dates back to 1882.

But no one is quite sure who first proposed the idea of a US Labor Day, which will be celebrated this coming Monday nationwide.

Some say it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist who served as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York, while others argue Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor first came up with the idea after watching the annual labor festival in Toronto.

Maguire's Central Labor Union held the first official Labor Day in America on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, according to the Department of Labor.

In 1884, the first Monday of September was officially selected as the date of the holiday.

States began celebrating the economic and social contributions of workers in 1887, when Oregon made it an official holiday.

A federal holiday was recognized in 1894.

Through the years, Labor Day has also come to mark the end of summer in the United States and the start of football season and a new school year.

Labor Day is marked on May 1 as International Workers' Day in many other countries. It's known as May Day in the US.