Here at Forester Haynie, we truly value this Day! Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday of every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a day that many Americans know nothing about because it is a holiday without any celebration or rituals––except for shopping and barbecuing. In fact, for most people, it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year.
However, the holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. They were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
Labor Day originated in the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution when the average American worked 12-hour days seven days a week in order to earn a very basic living. The average worker, including children as young as 5 or 6, often worked in extremely unsafe conditions with inadequate fresh air, restrooms, and no breaks. These conditions influenced the growth of the labor unions that organized strikes and rallies to protest the poor conditions and to force employers to institute proper hours and pay. Although some strikes became violent, others established the foundation for the first Labor Day parade, held in New York City on September 5, 1882.
The idea of a holiday to celebrate the “working man” caught on, and states began passing legislation recognizing it. However, 12 years later, to repair ties with American workers, Congress finally created an act making Labor Day a legal holiday and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the act into law. Now, the Labor Day holiday continues to be celebrated yearly and is a tribute to the contribution workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and welfare of America. Today, all of us at Forester Haynie celebrate and honor those hard-working Americans. We look forward to continuing to represent workers who are taken advantage of every day because they do not receive their proper overtime or minimum wage pay.