Labor Day 2017: When is Labour Day Celebrated in Different Countries?

Henrietta Brewer
September 4, 2017

Most Americans probably have only a vague knowledge of President Grover Cleveland, but you can thank him for having Monday off of work.

There's a more serious meaning behind Labor Day as it was first celebrated in 1882 amid a period of great unrest and protests from workers' unions over conditions facing employees.

For workers in some of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy, however, Labor Day is nothing but another day at work.

Monday is Labor Day when we salute all American workers, those wearing blue and white shirts, a day off for most and thoughts about the American work ethic and the technical minds who have made the country No. 1 in the world. In some communities, Labor Day is the last day before the school year starts for children.


Millions of barbecues could be held across the United States today to celebrate the public holidayWhat is Labor Day?

But while the first rally was held in New York, Oregon was the first state to institute Labor Day as a holiday, passing legislation to that effect in 1887. We can, and we must, elect leaders who will rewrite those rules so wages are high, benefits are strong, work is safe, retirement is secure and the freedom to negotiate is universal.

So as you enjoy your Labor Day, take a moment to pay tribute to the American worker, in all its incarnations, who has labored to create the America we know and love.

There is some dispute over the foundation of the holiday, according to the Department of Labor.


In practice, all government offices and organizations are closed, while many private businesses also shut for the day to enable workers to mark the occasion with their families.

But other historians propose that another man, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, was the founder of the holiday.

The holiday evolved out of decades of tensions between workers and unions on one side, and state security forces and employers on the other. According to a national Gallup poll, almost 80 percent of Americans agree: no worker should be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

The tensions culminated in the Pullman strike, during which workers for railcar manufacturers the Pullman Company in Chicago went on strike after their wages were cut by nearly 30 percent, but the rents and prices at company-owned accommodation and stores remained static.


Click through the gallery to see how Americans have celebrated past Labor Days. Canada also follows suit in the Labour Day celebrations.

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