Why We Celebrate on Labor Day

It was 1882, just one year from organizing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, when Peter J. McGuire first introduced the idea of celebrating Labor Day to the New York Central Labor Union. In McGuire’s ideal mind, on Labor Day the average worker would arise to find their community was filled with others just like them: hardworking people, strong people, who took pride in their crafts. Together, the community would realize its tremendous strength and be bound tighter than before. Even before he founded the UBC or became “The Father of Labor Day” and May Day alike, McGuire spent years traveling the nation organizing workers for their rights and helping others realize the strength in their communities. There were no weekends or 8-hour workdays until McGuire and the Carpenters demanded it.

In 1883, more than 30,000 workers joined McGuire at the first Labor Day Parade in New York. It took time but eventually that spirit of camaraderie spread across the nation. In 1886, over 350,000 workers from all over America held public demonstrations and parades just like the first Labor Day Parade. Collectively, their voices could not be ignored. Congress officially recognized Labor Day as a federal holiday and acknowledged the need to restore justice to its workers. On Labor Day it’s the Carpenters tradition to celebrate the strength and unity of the community.

We salute our founder, Peter J. McGuire, for recognition of workers on this, and every Labor Day.