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The History Behind Labor Day

While we all look forward to Labor Day and the three-day weekend it brings, do you know the origins of this infamous holiday? Labor Day will always be celebrated on the first Monday in September, to celebrate the creation of the labor movement dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. Many Americans worked twelve-hour days, seven days a week, where the jobs were often physically demanding and did not pay enough. The conditions were very harsh and some even unsafe. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some people are unsure of who founded this holiday. Some say it is Peter J. McGuire, while others say Matthew Maguire. On June 28, 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed this holiday into law, but to this day not many know who the founder of this holiday was. 

The Beginning 

People in the first labor day parade that was celebrated in New York City.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, where Americans marched from City Hall to Union Square. One year later, the Central Labor Union held the second celebration of this holiday. By 1894, twenty-three other states were celebrating the Labor Day holiday.  It is celebrated all over the country in towns and cities with various festivities such as parades, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks. Some towns get involved as well and hold public activities and gatherings. There are those who take this holiday into consideration when thinking summer is coming to an end and the back-to-school season is right around the corner. The first nationally-recognized Labor Day holiday was observed in 1894 as a way to show appreciation and support for the working men and women across the United States, regardless of race, income, class or career. This became the starting point for labor unions across the country, and is the reason that today’s businesses offer a 40-hour work week, minimum wage, workers’ compensation, vacation and sick time, overtime pay, maternity leave, disability rights, discrimination laws, child labor laws, retirement packages, and mandatory work breaks. 

The Importance 

People are holding American Flags in a group

Many Americans do not realize the importance of what Labor Day really means, or the battle that many faced just to receive these labor benefits that we have come to expect in today’s day and age—and the battle is not necessarily over. Many of the products that we see on the shelves are all outsourced by various countries, such as China, Indonesia, or Malaysia. American-made products are seen less often than they were at the first Labor Day celebration. 

Shop Local! 

This Labor Day, we encourage everyone to shop local and shop American-made. Simply check the label and look for our flag! Support a local artisan and purchase something hand-made! At Paradiso Insurance, we believe in the American Dream and hope that we can all come together to support each other in achieving that dream. 

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