We all know that Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer; however, holidays generally have a significant historical meaning. As Labor Day Weekend approaches, I came to the realization that I am not as familiar with the historical significance of Labor Day as I’d like to be. Being in the recruiting and staffing industry, I wanted to take time to reflect on the importance of this holiday.
The significance of Labor Day
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 and is celebrated the first Monday of September each year. This holiday is a celebration of workers and the hard work Americans have put in to provide for the families and boost their economy. In the height of the Industrial Revolution, the average American was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide for their family.
During this time, there wasn’t any OSHA, MSHA, or any federal regulations to ensure safe working conditions for employees. And documentation shows kids as young as six years old working in heavy industrial manufacturing environments for pennies.
As labor unions became prevalent and vocal employees began to protest the harsh and unsafe working conditions. As a result, workers began to protest these conditions, and some of these protests even turned into riots. On September 5th, 1882, over 10,000 workers walk out of work to march on City Hall in New York City. This march was promoted by the Knights of Labor and Central Labor Union and today is considered to be the first official Labor Day parade in U.S. History.
Becoming a federal holiday
And after this march, the idea of a holiday dedicated to the American laborers began and a new tradition was born. Workers started the historic tradition of walking out of work on the first Monday of every September. Eventually, this tradition gained traction as a real public issue. And five years later, Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day an official public Holiday in 1887. Finally, in 1894, it officially became a U.S. Federal holiday with thirty states celebrating the hard work of America laborers.
Therefore, Labor Day is the celebration of you, the hardworking American people. We here at Johnson Search want to thank all of our clients and candidates for all of their hard work. We appreciate you all and hope you have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!
What Labor Day Means to JSG
We sat down with JSG’s divisional manages and talked about what Labor Day means to them and their industries.