More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” However many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.
Whatever its origins, the first Monday in September is when workers across America have a day off to celebrate Labor Day. Over the years it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general ‘last fling of summer’ festival. In the northern half of the U.S. at least, the summer vacation season begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day. So as well as symbolising the end of summer, it also marks the start of football season, the return to school for millions of students and is one of the biggest holiday shopping weekends on the calendar.
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