As you fire up your grill one last time for the summer, remember that Labor Day is about more than barbecuing.

This yearly celebration of the American worker is a tribute to labor’s contribution to the economic and social well-being of the United States.

Labor Day originated in an age of 12-hour workdays, seven-day-a-week schedules, child labor, and terrible working conditions. Its origins aren’t clear.

Some say that Labor Day originated in 1882 with Peter J. McGuire, a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.

Others claim that a machinist named Matthew Maguire proposed the celebration while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

However, there’s little dispute that the first Labor Day parade was held on Sept. 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers in New York City marched from City Hall to Union Square.

The Central Labor Union selected the first Monday of September as its annual holiday in 1884.

The first state to recognize Labor Day officially was Oregon, in 1887. By 1894, 23 more states had followed suit, and in that same year Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday throughout the country.

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