It was originally a protest
If you think Labor Day is just an excuse to have a barbecue and celebrate the unofficial end of summer, you are mistaken. The holiday's true roots are in honoring the contributions of workers. As Labor Day approaches, BusinessNewsDaily has compiled a list of facts about the holiday, workers and just what everyone celebrates on the first Monday of September.
The origins of the holiday were anything but celebratory. In fact, the first Labor Day "celebration" was actually a protest in which 10,000 workers marched to Union Square Park in New York City to support the idea of a holiday for workers. It was not until 1894, 12 years after that protest, that President Grover Cleveland signed into law a bill designating the first Monday in September, Labor Day. Several states had already passed legislation by that time recognizing the holiday.
While no one is exactly sure of who started the holiday officially, two men are at the center of this debate. The United States Department of Labor credits both Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, and Matthew Maguire, a machinist and later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., for proposing the idea of a holiday for workers.