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30 Fun facts about Labor Day

30 Fun facts about Labor Day

  1. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September every year.
  2. Many people consider Labor Day to signal the end of summer, but the official end of summer doesn’t come until September 21.
  3. There are 160 million workers in the United States as of July 2017.
  4. According to AAA, every Labor Day, approximately 35 million people travel at least 50 miles, to outdoor activities, barbecues, or just going on a family vacation.
  5. The average Labor Day traveler will go 594 miles from home, with 8% flying and 85% driving.
  6. What kinds of activities will people do on Labor Day? 57% enjoy barbecues and dining out, 46% visit with friends and relatives, and 43% hit the malls and stores fo Labor Day shopping!
  7. Paying a visit to our beautiful national parks is popular on Labor Day, with over 30,000,000 people visiting national parks every year and the majority of them on Labor Day weekend.
  8. However, our fun Labor Day holiday grew out of some very dire and dark circumstances in the U.S workplace.
  9. In the late 1800s, labor conditions were horrid. Wealthy families and industrialists controlled everything – including the politicians, who were in their pockets and the average working class person was destitute.
  10. The idea of labor rights and a national day for labor causes may have been first spread by Matthew Maguire, a machinist with the Central Labor Union of New York, while others attribute it to Peter Mcguire of the American Federation of Labor in 1882.
  11. But we can also look at the Pullman Town labor camp in 1890s Chicago to see the spark that lit the modern Labor Day movement.
  12. George Pullman, one of the wealthiest men in America, owned the Pullman Railroad Car Company, setting up an oppressive feudal system where his workers were subjects, and he was king.
  13. His workers were forced to live in a settlement where Pullman owned everything including apartments and rooming houses, food markets, stores, and even the churches and the libraries.
  14. When the Pullman Railroad Car Company cut all worker wages by 25% during the depression of 1893, the Pullman workers finally had enough, walking off of their jobs and going on strike on May 11, 1894.
  15. To show support and fight for worker rights across the nation, the American Railway Union ordered a full-scale boycott. When 125,000 railroad workers across 27 states joined the strike, all rail travel in the country came to a standstill.
  16. To try and break the strike and get the railroads running again, President Grover Cleveland sent troops and U.S. Marshalls to Chicago.
  17. It all exploded on May 4, 1886, when workers gathered in Chicago’s Haymarket Square when peaceful protestors were met by federal troops and a huge riot ensued. Within only a few minutes, eight people had been killed and over 120 police and civilians injured – most of them victims of police vigilantism.
  18. Eventually, the strike was broken, but President Cleveland designated a new federal holiday, Labor Day, to promote worker rights and prevent more strikes, riots, and industry shutdowns.
  19. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City in Union Square. It was sponsored by Matthew McGuire’s Central Labor Union.
  20. The decision to make Labor Day the first Monday of September was approved on June 28, 1894.
  21. The Adamson Act was passed on September 3 1916, to establish an eight-hour work day.
  22. But American workers do plenty of traveling on a daily basis – to and from work. In fact, the average U.S. employee commutes to and from work 25.4 minutes every working day.
  23. When it comes to workers’ rights, women are still fighting for equality. Today, women make up:
  • 46% of the labor force
  • 36% of all MBA students
  • 32% of lawyers
  • 17% of Congress
  1. Have you heard about the funny fashion rule that you can’t wear white after Labor Day? It came from a practice among America’s upper class and elite 100 years ago, who would return from their summer vacations after Labor Day weekend and pack away their white clothing for the winter.
  2. Oregon was the first state to honor Labor Day as a legal holiday in 1887.
  3. Every year, New York City throws a big Labor Day parade, which follows the same 20-block route as the original 1882 labor march.
  4. Labor Day is a big hot dog holiday, along with Memorial Day and the 4th of July. In fact, Americans eat about 7 billion hot dogs every summer, which comes to 818 hot dogs every summer!
  5. In many other countries, May 1 – also called May Day – is the holiday to commemorate working people.
  6. While they may get Labor Day off, U.S. workers do a lot more labor than anyone in the world. In fact, the average working adult in America puts in 1,790 hours per year – more than any other nation.
  7. If you think that’s too many hours, consider that in the 19th century before workers’ rights spread, the average work day was 12 hours, 7 days a week. That’s not just for adults, but the majority of teenagers had to work, and sometimes, children as young as 5 labored in factories!

Thank goodness we have Labor Day! Now go out and be safe, have fun, and celebrate the true spirit of the holiday!

 

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