Marches, strikes and white clothing: How much do you know about the history of Labor Day?

Labor Day

By AJ Willingham and Allen Kim

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The first Labor Day parade was held in what major city in 1882?

About 10,000 workers participated in the New York City parade on September 5th, 1882. That date is the reason Labor Day is always held on the first Monday of September.

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Why did the workers who paved the way for Labor Day choose the month of September?

Around the time the idea of Labor Day took hold, most union workers only got days off on Christmas, the 4th of July and some Sundays.

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Which president officially made Labor Day a national holiday?

Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894.

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The creation of Labor Day didn’t mean fair labor laws were suddenly the norm. Which president passed laws that established the eight-hour workday and ended child labor?

In 1938, Roosevelt signed into law the Depression-era set of laws known as the The Fair Labor Standards Act.

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The “other Labor Day,” as it is considered, is May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. It is typically a time of protest and activism for workers around the world. What disastrous event does May Day commemorate?

International Workers’ Day commemorates the Haymarket Affair of 1886. However, the event was considered too controversial to serve as the basis for a national labor holiday.

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About what share of working Americans are part of a labor union as of 2019?

About 10.3% of workers were part of a union in 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, the union membership rate was 20.1%

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What is the largest single labor union in the US?

The National Education Association of the United States has more than 3 million members, according to the Department of Labor. They include teachers but also bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers, school nurses and other positions.

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Why do people always say you can’t wear white after Labor Day?

It’s not clear how this outdated rule of fashion etiquette began, but experts point to the changing weather in fashion capitals and the fact that white was a popular shade of summer resort wear among the elites.

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