News

The History of Labor Day

September 14, 2020

For many people, Labor Day is for enjoying the final days of summer and time outdoors with family and friends. However, Labor Day was originally created to celebrate the labor movement and its accomplishments such as child labor laws, safety in the workplace, and reduced work hours. Dan Graff, Ph.D., professor of history and director of the Higgins Labor Program, was interviewed on local South Bend news affiliate ABC 57 for an article titled "The History of Labor Day." In it, he discusses how as a nation we have forgotten what Labor Day was intended to commemorate, especially evident in the fact that many people still work on Labor Day.

“I think it’s important for people, especially in this pandemic, where we’ve had a lot of a conversation about essential workers and their importance. A lot of those essential workers don’t have Labor Day off. There is nothing under American law, that gives anyone the right to any holiday. So we recognize federal holidays but no employer, private employer is required to give a holiday."

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