Labor Day, a widely celebrated holiday in the United States, holds a rich history that goes beyond just marking the end of summer. It’s more than just a reason for a day off or a reason to fire up the grill — Labor Day is a tribute to the hard work, dedication, and struggles of workers throughout American history.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day is a day set aside to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the contributions of American workers - specifically building trades workers - to our country. It’s a day to remember what we’ve built, how far we’ve come, and the great strides we’ve made in improving working conditions, fair wages, and the overall well-being of our workers.
Who Created Labor Day and Why?
The roots of Labor Day were established in the late 19th century, when the American labor movement was gaining momentum. At that time, working conditions for most Americans were harsh and grueling: long work hours in unsafe environments for minimal pay. In response, labor unions formed and began fighting for better treatment and fair working conditions for all workers.
The first Labor Day event took place on September 5, 1882, in New York City, when workers marched in protest, led by the Central Labor Union, demanding better treatment and rights for workers. This demonstration set the stage for dedicating a day to honor the contributions of workers. As a result, Labor Day became an official federal holiday in 1894.
What Did Labor Day Do for Workers?
The first Labor Day event and the events that followed played a key role in shaping the workplace as we know it today. It led to important workplace laws, such as the establishing the 8-hour workday, 5-day workweek, and safer working conditions. Workers also gained the right to negotiate for better pay, benefits, and treatment. We owe a lot to the brave tradespeople who stood up and banded together to say, “Enough is enough!”
Labor Day is more than just a holiday—it's a celebration of the progress we've made thanks to the hard-working men and women who came before us in the building trades. It’s a day to honor all that has been built and all that has been established by American workers.
Want to join the women and men in the building trades who continue to build our nation and our future? Learn more about career opportunities in the trades and get started today!