Everything you want to know about Labor Day

The holiday celebrating workers rights has an interesting history.
Monday, September 5, 2011 | 10:43 a.m. CDT; updated 1:47 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The United States observes Labor Day on the first Monday of every September. Monday marks the 118th celebration of the federal holiday, but its roots actually date back to Sept. 5, 1882, when the Central Labor Union held a parade and festival in New York City. The holiday eventually spread throughout the states until becoming a national observance in 1894.

Today, Labor Day for many is less a time to reflect on workers rights and the labor movement and more of a chance to mark the unofficial end of summer. But Labor Day has a fascinating and compelling history. Here are some places to learn more.

Want to know the history of the holiday? The Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor both have the breakdown.

The U.S. Census Bureau has a page that provides the nitty-gritty on Labor Day statistics.

Both Time and The Huffington Post offer some interesting facts about Labor Day.

For the TV buffs out there, the History Channel and PBS also have websites dedicated to information about the holiday. The History Channel also features a video.

Finally, Kenneth C. Davis, author of "Don't Know Much About History: Anniversary Edition," contributed this article to CNN.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Michael Williams September 5, 2011 | 4:34 p.m.

Here's more recent "toned down" union history;

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance September 5, 2011 | 5:00 p.m.

take those SOB out....of Washington. Nice that Faux news are demonizing the middle class and workers still. The "job creators" fear an organized middle class. They will try to convince those in the middle class that unions are no longer needed. They are needed more than ever. With corporate money now legal in American politics, unions will be the only mechanism where a worker will have any political power. The wealthy are waging a class war that the middle class is losing with the help of those who believe that if they only speak the words of freedom and liberty, they too will "join the club".

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams September 5, 2011 | 5:21 p.m.

I'm curious, Tim. Do you support what he said and the way he said it?

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 5, 2011 | 8:55 p.m.

Tim Dance - "They will try to convince those in the middle class that unions are no longer needed. They are needed more than ever." Are those of the "middle class" not able to determine Their need for unions? I somehow, believe if the "middle class" wanted or needed unions, those people would indeed have unions.

As it appears that you live and breathe to spray your stuff on us, there is no use in showing you the numerous records that show right-to-work states are providing more for the worker than forced union states in most any respect or category in which the two can be compared. And yes, the "Willis Report" Fox Business Channel today spent a segment showing the difference.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance September 7, 2011 | 10:12 p.m.

"And yes, the "Willis Report" Fox Business Channel today spent a segment showing the difference."

You're a good minion Frank, you still can't be in the "club"

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 8, 2011 | 7:52 a.m.

The middle class has largely spent its way into trouble.

A middle class family in the '60s often had a TV or two, a car or maybe 2, a few appliances and a 1200 - 1500 sf house.

Today a "middle class" family expects to have several TVs (and cable for them all), a car for everyone over 16, mobile and Internet service, myriad gadgets and games (many of which have recurrent expenses), and a house that's half again to twice as big as 50 years ago.

There's no comparison with the living standard of the '60s with the desired living standard of today. It's quite possible to live at least as well as in the '60s on a "middle class" income if some of them figure out they really don't need all that crap.


(Report Comment)
Michael Williams September 8, 2011 | 8:28 a.m.

MarkF says, "if some of them figure out they really don't need all that crap."

I agree completely. Imagine the status of the middle class today if they had purchased *real* assets 25-30 years ago.

Purchase assets, and you gain wealth. Purchase crap, and you don't.

Pay yourself first. It's really that simple.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield September 8, 2011 | 11:55 a.m.

"Pay yourself first. It's really that simple."

That's what they're doing when they spend on wants rather than needs. And when they can't afford needs, many whine that "the rich" aren't paying "their fair share."

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.