Labor Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday of September. The history of the holiday dates back to the 19th century, when labor activists pushed for the recognition of American workers’ efforts.
When manufacturing drew American workers away from farming to jobs in factories, labor unions began to organize to protect workers’ rights. Rising tensions resulted in protests like the Haymarket Riot turning violent, taking several lives and injuring many others. But many Americans, including women, children and immigrants, faced long hours, six day work weeks, hazardous working conditions and were often severely underpaid.
Labor Day was first recognized as a national holiday in 1894, but it’s believed that the first formal Labor Day celebrations took place in 1882 when New York City union leaders organized a parade. In fact, Labor Day was already recognized as an official holiday in 24 states before it became a federal holiday.
In a presidential proclamation, President Biden acknowledges the influential role that unions, workers, and the middle class have had in building the infrastructure and economy of the United States. Labor Day represents the hard-won fight for American labor unions and the importance of workers who strive to achieve the American Dream.
All YPL locations will be closed Monday, September 4th in observance of Labor Day.
Alison Robles is a part-time page at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for YA lit, historical fiction and fantasy. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations. She is pursuing a Masters in Information and Library Science from the University at Buffalo.