Labor Day celebrates the union movement

Monday (Sept. 2) is Labor Day – the day set aside in both the U.S. and Canada to celebrate workers. It has its roots in the labor union movement.  The first Labor Day parade was Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City, organized by the Central Labor Union. Some 10,000 workers paraded around Union Square.

The idea spread across the county and many state legislatures passed bills making it a legal holiday.  In 1894, Congress enacted legislation making the first Monday of September the official Labor Day.

While the legislation was signed by President Grover Cleveland, history notes that he signed it to help mitigate the criticism he was getting for sending troops to break up a strike, resulting in 13 dead strikers and more than 50 wounded.

Over time Labor Day parades in the U.S. and big celebrations have given way to the “just-another day-off” mentality and the last weekend of summer.

In Juneau, the Central Labor Council sponsors a community Labor Day picnic at Sandy Beach from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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