Even to this day, 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there's still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday.
There are some records that say that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first one to suggest a day to honor the workers.
But his place in Labor Day history hasn't gone unchallenged. Others believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882. This was when he served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
It was in 1884, that the first Monday was chosen to become the holiday. The Central Labor Union urged other labor organizations in other cities to follow their example. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. Next came state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. After that, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of that decade, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania joined in. twenty-three other states adopted the holiday in honor of workers by 1894. Congress passed an act by June 28, 1894, making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
Parades happened during this day, followed by festivals. Over time the way it is celebrate has changed, to even now a being in many people's minds as the last official day of summer to grill or swim in the pool. As for being for the American worker's day off, many stores are open and workers working.
But still, it is a day we should all reflect on how all workers should have a day to celebrate the hard work they do.