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There seems to be a dispute as to who first suggested the concept of a day to celebrate the efforts of American workers.

Two people with similar last names are usually giving credit.

The Tale of Two Labor Pioneers — Maguire/McGuire

Some believe Labor Day was first suggested by Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York in 1882.

Others give credit to Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882,after witnessing the annual “labour (Canadian spelling)” festival held in Toronto, Canada.

The state of Oregon was the first to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. Thirty states were already celebrating some form of a Labor Day when it was made an official federal holiday by President Grover Cleveland in 1894.

The Pullman Strike

US Military and US Marshall's killed a number of workers during the famous Pullman Strike causing President Grover Cleveland to sign Labor Day as a national holiday just six days after the strike.

There was also a competing day called the International Workers' Day that many states celebrated.

But the trade unions won out making the September date official with President Cleveland’s signature due to the socialist and anarchist leanings of the International Workers Day group.

Labor Fashions?

In high society Labor Day was the last day of the year where it was permissible to wear white. So look for the Union Label just make sure it’s on a more fall or winter friendly color.

Labor Day has become a big retail day as well. For some businesses it’s second only to the famous, or infamous, Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving, sale day.

So much for workers getting the day off. Most all will be working today if they happen to be in the retail industry.

And ironically those who work most on holidays make up only 3 percent of union membership while performing 24 percent of all jobs in the US.

Some Final Thoughts

There is no denying that labor unions deserve a large share of the credit for the battle to improve working conditions across the board for American workers.

But in recent years employers are realizing that the better the employee the more they are worth to the company.

Turnover and training are costly. Currently it costs about $3,500 to recruit and hire the average employee in the US and that doesn’t include training them.

The more skill and experience you have the more valuable you are. Don’t give your expertise away. Most people work for less than they are worth.

If you are not being fairly compensated then start job hunting.

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