The Story Behind Labor Day, The Workers Unions & Their Prideful Pins
Recognizing the considerable benefits this country has gained from its labor force – arguably the ones most responsible for the preeminence of the U.S. economy – is more important than some people realize. Established as a national holiday in 1887, Labor Day allows everyone to do their part in recognizing the labor that makes this country what it is.
Attributed to a Machinist, a Product of Strife
There is still some argument as to who is most responsible for the beginnings of Labor Day. There are records of a man named Peter J. McGuire – co-founder of the American Federation of Labor – proposing a day for labor. There is also evidence of a machinist named Matthew Maguire – working as the secretary of the New York Central Labor Union in 1882 – doing the same.
Oregon was the first state to establish the holiday. It would take 30 more states creating a Labor Day holiday before the United States government would make it an official national holiday. President Grover Cleveland was the one to sign it into law after the U.S. Congress at the time voted unanimously for the legislation. It is generally acknowledged that the Pullman Strike – where workers were recently killed by U.S. military and U.S. marshals – helped motivate the fast passage of the legislation.
A Much-Needed Acknowledgment
Labor worked hard to establish the nation so many Americans enjoyed during the time – much as it does now. The much-needed acknowledgment that the national holiday provided was important for workers and for those that benefited from their labor.
The holiday originally called for a street parade to demonstrate the solidarity of the labor movement, which would then be followed by a festival where the workers could enjoy their time and celebrate with their families. Parades can still be enjoyed today on Labor Day, although they are perhaps not as common as they once were.
Union Workers Show Commitment & Pride With Pins
Labor unions were originally established to fight for the rights of workers against employers and companies – businesses that were most interested in making a profit and not afraid to do so at the expense of their workers. The popularity of labor unions is not what it once was – something many would argue is worrisome.
Fortunately, it is still possible to express solidarity and fight for worker rights by joining a union. Union members wear patches and labor union pins to demonstrate this commitment.
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