Labor day is devoted to all workers in the United States. This day is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.
How it all began
More than a century ago, workers were forced to deal with harsh working conditions. The situation was such that everyone regardless of age, had to work extremely hard to survive. They were paid very little, and they often worked 10- to 12-hour days. Men, women and even small children were forced to work even when they were sick.
After getting tired of the long hours and dangerous conditions, workers began organizing themselves into labor unions. Besides fighting for higher pay and shorter workdays, they also took a stand for the rights of children.
The rise of the workers
A New York City carpenter named Peter McGuire is credited with coming up with the idea for Labor Day. When Peter McGuire was eleven years old he sold newspapers, shined shoes and cleaned stores, and later ran errands on the street in New York City. In 1863 his father, a poor Irish immigrant, got called to fight in the Civil War. Peter had to help support his mother and six brothers and sisters which was a very high expectation for a child his age.
When Peter was 17, he began to work in a piano shop. This job was better than his others, as he was learning something new, but it still had long hours and paid very little.
The main issue with labor conditions was that workers were tired of long hours, low pay and uncertain jobs. Soon they started to organize themselves into a union of laborers to improve their working conditions. In the spring of 1872, Peter McGuire and 100,000 workers went on a strike and marched through the streets, demanding a decrease in the long working day. This event convinced Peter that an organized labor movement was important for the future of workers' rights.
Peter spent the next few years speaking to crowds of workers and unemployed people to join the cause of workers' rights. He became known as a "disturber of the public peace." The city government ignored his demands. Peter himself could not find a job in his line of work.
In 1881, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and began to organize carpenters there. He organized a convention of carpenters in Chicago, and started the “national union of carpenters”. He later became the General Secretary of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
McGuire spent a decade fighting for worker's rights. Seeing Peter McGuire’s rise, other factory workers and toolmakers also began to make demands for an eight hour work day and a secure job. In 1882, McGuire proposed creating a special holiday for workers. On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, more than 10,000 workers marched in the streets of New York City for the first ever Labor Day parade. Two years later the celebration was moved to the first Monday in September. And in 1894, Congress passed a law making Labor Day a national holiday.
Labor day parades continue to this day to celebrate the day. Labor day also marks the end of summer when families enjoy a day of barbecues and picnics.
Regardless- Without paying attention to the present situation.
Expectation- A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future
Decade- A period of ten years
Proposed - Suggested
Social - relating to human society
Economic - generation, distribution, and use of wealth.
Credited- honor given to some action
laborer- a person who works
immigrant- a person who moves to another country
unemployed – without a job
convention – a meeting or a formal assembly
union – join together to form a group for a common purpose