Labor Day Construction Facts

by Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP

For many, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of Summer as kids head back to school and thoughts begin turn to the upcoming holidays.

Labor Day, which takes place on the first Monday in September, is celebrated in recognition of the social and economic achievements of American workers. Originally, Labor Day wasn’t meant for folks like me . . . but real workers. The roll up your sleeves, let’s get down to business kind of workers. Like Rosie there. It’s no surprise then, that Labor Day can trace its roots to the construction industry.

Labor Day dates back over a hundred years to 1894. There is some debate as to who first proposed Labor Day. Some argue that it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist and union activist with the Central Labor Union. Others argue that it was Peter J. McGuire, a carpenter and co-founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, who first proposed the holiday in 1882 after seeing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada.

McGuire, a New York City native, was a real rabble-rouser in his day. A political activist before he became a trade unionist, McGuire agitated for unemployment benefits and an eight-hour work day as founder of the Social Democratic Workingmens Party of North America, a socialist organizations that sought to achieve socialism through the organization of trade unions. He also founded and edited a socialist paper known as “The Toiler,” and toured the United States lecturing for the party while supporting himself as a carpenter during the 1870s.

McGuire later founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in 1881. McGuire served as the sole leader of the union for its first 20 years, paying union expenses out of his own pocket, and somewhat ironically was voted out of office in 1902, after he was arrested for embezzlement when an audit of the union’s records found that approximately $10,000 could not be accounted for. Before being voted out of office, McGuire addressed the delegates at the 1902 carpenters’ convention, stating “[A] man wears out like a piece of machinery . . . I am not lost entirely in this world but I have enough to wreck me physically, destroy me mentally.” He died four years later, his death hastened by alcoholism, likely due to the betrayal of his union brothers.

Labor Day’s political beginnings extend as well to its recognition as a federal holiday and its celebration on the first Monday of September. Legislation establishing Labor Day as a federal holiday was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894, just six days following the deaths of 30 workers as thousands of U.S. Marshals and some 12,000 U.S. Army troops descended on workers to quell the Pullman Strike which had paralyzed the nation’s railroads. The celebration of Labor Day on the first Monday of September, rather than the more widespread International Workers Day on May 1st, was selected not only for the very practical reason that the Pullman Strike occurred in the Summer of 1894 (and May 1st was a long, long time away), but also out of concern that observing Labor Day on the same day as International Workers Day would associate the holiday not only with workers but with nascent Communist, Syndicalist, and Anarchist movements which were beginning to take root following the Panic of 1893.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP

Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.