US HOLIDAY

Labor Day in USA: which president made it a national holiday?

This year Labor Day is celebrated on 7 September in the United States and it is a federal holiday to honor and recognize the American labor movement.

Labor Day in USA: which president made it a national holiday?
JOE RAEDLE AFP

Labor Day celebrates the contribution and achievements made by American workers and it is celebrated on the first Monday in September each year. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.

During the industrial revolution in the late 1800s the average American worked 12-hour days for seven days a week just to make ends meet. In many states around the country children were permitted to start working from the age of five and upwards in mills, factories and mines, earning a mere fraction of what adults made.

Work conditions were unsafe, with little access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and hardly any breaks. As manufacturing work started to outgrow agriculture, in the late 18th century workers started organizing strikes and rallies to protest against poor working conditions, long hours and the number of days they worked.

President Cleveland made it a federal holiday

Grover Cleveland was the 24th US President when on 28 June, 1894 he signed the celebration of Labor Day into law. Americans had been protesting for better working conditions since 1882, but it took Congress 12 years to designate it a national holiday. Cleveland had served a previous term as the 22nd US President from 1885–1889.