Labor Day is an annual celebration that is observed across the United States with parades, fireworks and trips to the beach and this year, the day has been marked in the Google Doodle for Monday, September 3, 2018.
Every year, Labor Day aims to honour the American worker in addition to their social and economic achievements, after the day was inaugurated in the late 19th century out of respect for the rights of the individual.
According to the US Department of Labor, the day ‘constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions worker have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.’
What is Labor Day?
Usually celebrated on the first Monday in September, there is some confusion about who was the first to propose the idea of Labor Day, as reported by The Independent.
While Peter McGuire, the General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, is often credited with putting the idea forward in 1882, Matthew Maguire, machinist and Secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) in New York has also been declared an alternative source.
The first Labor Day was held on September 5, 1882 in New York City by the CLU and a street parade was also held in Union Square. Soon enough, other cities followed with Oregon becoming the first state to make it an official holiday in 1887.
By 1894, 34 US states had observed the date, which in turn, encouraged President Grover Cleveland to sign a bill into law that made the day into an official holiday. According to The Independent, this was timely because it coincided with the Pullman Strike.
The Pullman Strike came as a result of a dispute that saw 4,000 American Railway Union (ARU) workers employed at the Pullman Company plant on Chicago’s South Side refuse to work after the company, that ran the local community, refused to let employees own homes.
After wages were cut and operatives were sacked, Pullman staff protested in a series of strikes between May 11 and July 20, 1894. Following this, Eugene V Debs, head of the ARU, stopped the movement of cars to railroads and a boycott of all trains that towed a Pullman carriage.
This resulted in all railway lines west of Detroit, Michigan, being affected with over 250,000 workers in 27 states protesting. However, after the company made no changes, riots erupted with 37 people being killed, 57 injured and $80 million of damage.
Labor Day 2018
Labor Day 2018 is being celebrated on Monday, September 3 – the day taking place on the first Monday of September every year.
Today, many associate the day with the end of summer and mark the holiday with barbecues, trips to the beach and other seasonal activities.
While Canada also marks the same occasion, the European equivalent is International Workers’ Day on May 1.
What is a Google Doodle?
A Google Doodle is a change to the homepage logo on the website which reflects a significant birthday, event, accomplishment or individual.
First introduced back in 1998 to celebrate Burning Man festival, Google Doodles were created by Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Later, a group of outside contractors created them and eventually, a special in-house team called Doodlers was established to create them more consistently