Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States that recognizes people who are working on the first Monday of September. The first Labor Day occurred in 1882 in New York City under the direction of the city’s labor union. The organizers of the first Labor Day were interested in creating an event that brought different types of workers together to meet each other and recognize their common interests. Labor Day came about because workers felt they were spending too many hours and days on the job. In the 1830s, manufacturing workers were putting in 70-hour weeks on average. Sixty years later, in 1890, hours of work had dropped, although the average manufacturing worker still toiled in a factory 60 hours a week. Surprisingly, many politicians and business owners were actually in favor of giving workers more time off. That’s because workers who had no free time were not able to spend their wages on traveling, entertainment or dining out.
-The Aiken Foundation