Today in revolutionary history: The origins of Labor Day

 
BY:Joe Sims| September 1, 2014

Did you know that the first campaigner for Labor Day was Peter J. McGuire, a socialist carpenter? McGuire, a founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners first proposed a national holid ay honoring workers in 1882. He founded the Social Democratic Workingmens Party of North America. An editor of a socialist newspaper, The Toiler, he campaigned for the 8-hour day and joined the Greenback Labor Party. He was a vice-president of the American Federation of Labor. McGuire fought for labor unity and higher wages. Today, raising the minimum wage is a key issue for the labor movement and the working class as a whole.

 

Comments (3)

SastoNepal | January 20, 2015 at 10:55 AM

We always remember Peter J. McGuire !
Peter J. McGuire became a member in 1873 of a body famous as the Committee for Public-Safety, which was agitating for unemployment benefits. He was detained while occupying the office of the city’s Police Commissioner, who had refused to grant them a parade permit. He had been not only the only leader that the union had for its 1st 20 years, but nearly the entire organization for a good part of that time, paying union expenses out of his own-pocket. That, along with his conciliatory attitude toward rival-unions, gave rise to widespread opposition to his administration at the beginning of the twentieth century.

| January 20, 2015 at 10:54 AM

We always remember Peter J. McGuire !
Peter J. McGuire became a member in 1873 of a body famous as the Committee for Public-Safety, which was agitating for unemployment benefits. He was detained while occupying the office of the city’s Police Commissioner, who had refused to grant them a parade permit. He had been not only the only leader that the union had for its 1st 20 years, but nearly the entire organization for a good part of that time, paying union expenses out of his own-pocket. That, along with his conciliatory attitude toward rival-unions, gave rise to widespread opposition to his administration at the beginning of the twentieth century.

jules | September 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

We owe much to the pioneers of Socialism in American Labor.
Bravo Peter J. McGuire!

observer Jules

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