September five, 1882, the streets of New York fill with 20,000 workers participating in what was to be the very first Labor Day Parade. It was an all day affair kicked off by the parade followed by family picnics all about the city and later in the evening, a fireworks display.
Founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Peter McGuire is stated to have been the very first to propose the notion of a day set aside in celebration of the American worker. Functioning conditions throughout that time had been poor and a lot of instances unsafe. Several factories had no windows for fresh air or venting harmful fumes, there was no such point as safety guards on an machine. If somebody got hurt on the job, there wasn’t any insurance to cover them, in reality they could be fired. Some had poor heating systems or no heat at all, leaving workers to keep warm on their personal in winter. But workers had been reluctant to take a stand against this abuse, jobs have been scarce and they regarded as themselves lucky to have jobs.
Operating lengthy hours in a piano shop during the day and going to meetings in the evenings, Peter discovered of the American workers plight. They have been tired of these circumstances and operating lengthy hours for low pay and no job safety.
Right after a march Peter attended in which one hundred,000 workers marched the streets of New York to protest the appauling working situations and ten to 12 hours days, he knew an organized labor movement was required. He started speaking to groups, each employed and unemployed, about the value of organizing. He unsuccessfully lobbied the city for jobs and monetary relief. This of course did not set well with city government and he gained a reputation as a troublemaker and was after arrested whilst seeking a permit to parade.
America could have been constructed on great suggestions and funds of the wealthy but it was on the backs of the American worker that the dreams of the affluent have been realized. With no the sweat and toil of the workforce, these dreams would have remained just that… dreams. The labor of these extraordinary Americans provided the muscle and momentum that literally built this country from the ground up and transformed it into the economic powerhouse it is today.
Not capable to uncover employment in his personal trade, Peter started to travel along the eastern seaboard speaking to workers about organizing unions. He moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1881 and quickly started speaking to the carpenters and organizing conventions there. It was there in St. Louis that a national union of carpenters was founded and exactly where he became the Basic Secretary of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
Needless to say the idea of organizing the workforce to boost circumstances and pay spread across the nation rapidly. When they realized it could be accomplished, workers from about the nation banded collectively becoming a force to be reckoned with and ultimately management was obliged to concede to their demands.
In celebration of the victory, Peter and laborers across America planned a holiday for workers. It was to be on the 1st Monday in September and on September 5th, 1882 America’s very first Labor Day parade was held in New York City. Ironically, the event was in fact held on a Tuesday. The following year it was also celebrated on September 5th, presumably a Wednesday. It wasn’t till 1884 that the holiday was really celebrated on a Monday.
So during your cookouts and household gatherings this year, bear in mind that the day of celebration was created achievable by Peter McGuire’s leadership in the fight for us as American workers. His hard operate and determination helped lead a nation to remind our government that our nation was built on the backs of individuals like you and me.