Today in Legal History: Labor Day becomes a thing (June 23, 1894)
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Today, June 23, 1894, Congress passed a bill that made Labor Day a national holiday in the U.S. (I tracked it down, see image.)
The roots of the Labor Day go back earlier though. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from the New York City Hall to Union Square, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.
In the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Child labor was prevalent. The very poor and recent immigrants especially faced extremely unsafe working conditions. Countless workers, as well as police and security officers, died in periodic protests and riots.
Because of the sacrifices made, and the activism exhibited -- over many generations -- the U.S. Congress finally passed the below bill in 1894.
As many workers and immigrants, not just in the U.S. but across the world, continue to face extreme poverty and unsafe working conditions, we hold dearly the sacrifices made before us, and should strive to continue making our country, and our world, a better place for all.