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Labor Day

Labor Day in 2020

Like many other things in 2020, Labor Day is looking a little different this year. Although most of us will still be receiving a much-needed three-day weekend, our celebrations may not be like they have in years past. Unfortunately, we may have to forgo our annual parades, big family barbecues, or last big summer vacation. However, there is one thing that will remain true this year: the spirit of the American worker. No matter what’s going on in the world around us, the work ethic and innovation of every worker in this country deserve an extra long weekend to relax.

At Johnson Service Group, we have the privilege of working with talented, hardworking professionals in over a dozen industries. We are honored to help great people like you achieve your career goals. We want to take a moment to express our gratitude to our contractors and partners, both past and present. Thank you for all of your hard work and the contributions you make for our country. There are many distractions out there right now, but it’s essential to keep the spirit of Labor Day going strong. Today is about YOU, and we hope you have a fun and safe holiday.

A little background on the history of Labor Day

Labor Day is much more than BBQs and the unofficial end of summer – it’s a holiday celebrating the great contributions, achievements, and innovations of the American worker.

The origin for Labor Day is a little contested; but the first celebration can be traced back to 1882 when Matthew Maguire, a machinist in New Jersey, proposed the holiday to the Central Labor Union. However, Labor Day didn’t become a federal holiday until June 28, 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday. It took 12 years and 23 different states to adopt this holiday for the federal government to recognize Labor Day. Canada’s Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September and has similar origins to the American holiday.

Fun fact: Oregon was the first state to pass the holiday as state law on February 21, 1887.

Again, from everyone at Johnson Service Group, we wish you a happy Labor Day!

Labor Day

The Meaning of Labor Day

Labor Day

For most of us, Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. It’s the last hoorah for summertime fun at the lake and the final holiday weekend until Thanksgiving. While most of us look forward to this three-day weekend, Labor Day is actually a holiday with deep historical significance. As a leader in the Staffing and Recruiting industry, we want to take a moment to reflect on the importance of this holiday.

What is Labor Day?

Labor Day is the celebration of the American labor movement; it honors the great contributions and achievements of the American worker. The U.S. celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday each September. This year’s celebration (September 2, 2019) is the 125th anniversary of this federal holiday! But how did it become such a significant milestone for American workers and our nation’s history?

The history

The founder of Labor Day is actually somewhat unclear. Peter J. McGuire, the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor and General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, is often recognized as the originator of the holiday. According to McGuire himself, on May 8, 1882, he proposed to the young Central Labor Union in New York City that there should be a “general holiday for the laboring classes.” Moreover, he supposedly suggested the first Monday in September to be set aside to honor the American Laborer with a street parade as a public demonstration followed by a picnic for local unions to use as a fundraiser.

However, recent research illustrates that Matthew Maguire, a machinist and later the Secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ, proposed the holiday in 1882. While serving as the Secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York, he proposed this special day to become a holiday to the CLU. Maguire is now being credited as the brainchild of Labor Day proposing the holiday to be celebrated on the first Monday of each September after the first successful celebration on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.

Becoming a Federal Holiday

Over the years, more and more states began to celebrate the great American workers. The introduction of the first state bill was in New York state; however, Oregon was the first state to pass the holiday as state law on February 21, 1887. By 1894, 12 years after the first celebration, 23 states adopted the holiday. Then, on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

Regardless of who founded the holiday, Labor Day has a profound historical significance. At the end of the day, this holiday is to celebrate you, the American worker. Thus, by working together and putting our differences aside, we have overcome huge milestones throughout our country’s relatively short history. We’ve made our country a better, healthier place and rallied together to improve working conditions, fight for fair pay, and to improve our livelihoods along the way.

A big thanks to you

To summarize, President Theodore Roosevelt summed up the spirit of the American worker well:

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move onto better things.”

At Johnson Service Group, we have the opportunity to work with thousands of wonderful, hardworking people across the country. Thank you for all your hard work and the contributions you make to our country. It’s an honor to work with you all and help keep the true spirit of this important holiday going strong. Happy Labor Day!