9 things you might not have known about Labor Day

KUSA – You might know it is a three-day weekend, an opportunity to indulge in the great American pastime which is barbecuing or the last time you can wear your white suit.

For many, Labor Day also marks the unofficial end to summer, as well as the start of both school AND football season.

And Labor Day is certainly all of those things, but did you know there's century-old history behind it as well? Here are 9 things to know as you enjoy a rare Monday off:

1. Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894 after a failed attempt to break-up a railroad strike.

2. At the height of the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. During that same time, kids as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills, factories and mines across the country.

3. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in 1887… meaning that Portland was always much more hip than the rest of the country.

4. Peter McGuire, the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, is credited with first proposing the idea of Labor Day in 1882. Matthew McGuire and Samuel Gompers have also been cited as the fathers of the holiday.

5. In many other countries, May Day (May 1) is the day working people are honored.

6. The Labor Movement has called for 8-hour work days since 1836. The idea was first established by law though in 1916 with the passage of the Adamson Act, which is the first federal law regulating hours for workers in private companies.

7. The length of the average commute? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says around 24.3 minutes.

8. The current number of employed American workers is 144 million --- 1.6 million of those earned the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2012.

9. The first Labor Day actually wasn't celebrated on a Monday – it happened on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City.


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