How Labor Day came to be

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Every year, on the first Monday of September, schools are closed in celebration of Labor Day. The day off is much appreciated, but why is this holiday so important?

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland announced that a federal holiday for Labor Day would be designated. 

The origins of the holiday, however, began in New York in 1882 with the country’s first Labor Day parade. That Sept. 5, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march the streets and celebrate with fireworks and dancing.

Working men across the country learned about this celebration, and as word caught on, states began recognizing the holiday. By 1894, 30 states had decided to recognize Labor Day, but the holiday wasn’t federally recognized until after the Pullman Strike.

The Pullman Strike was a two month long railroad strike and boycott in which workers refused to operate trains with sleeping cars from the Pullman Company due to the company’s low wages during an economic depression. The strike severely disrupted railroad service and eventually was forcefully ended through military intervention.

In an attempt to make peace with the working people of the country, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a national holiday June 28, 1894.

The recognition of Labor Day led to changes in the American Government such as the creation of the Labor Department. 

Today, the Labor Department focuses on ensuring worker’s rights, improving working conditions and promoting the welfare of workers. Worker’s issues have gained importance in America, a long way from the country’s first Labor Day parade.

Shreya is a senior here at American Heritage. Apart from Newspaper, she participates in clubs and extracurriculars such as Key Club, Model UN, YIS, HOSA, PBS and AASA. She loves writing, listening to music, watching TV shows and editing videos. She has been dancing for almost all her life and has a love for business and computer science. She plans on channeling these interests into her future career and exploring them further throughout high school. When she am not reading or rewatching Netflix shows, she is riding her bike or swimming in the pool.