The first Labor Day holiday, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City.
The idea came from the Central Labor Union. After a couple of years, the day moved to the first Monday in September. The practice spread and within ten years, 27 states were honoring their workers. In 1894, Congress made the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.
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We start every day happy to be tending this garden. Work you love, the teacher said, is a gift from God. But a long weekend ain’t bad either. Especially when it marks the end of another summer and the promise of autumn — cool weather, leaves turning, the smell of burning wood in the fireplace. The day after Labor Day, no matter how old you are, starts a new year.
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It sounded like a warning when the general counsel said it: ‘If you’re always working long hours and at weird times, there’s something wrong with the job or with you. Either way, I’ll fix it.’
Years later we realized that we’d never heard kinder words or better advice about how to live and work.
[Editor’s note: A version of this post first appeared on the FCPA Blog two years ago. The sentiments expressed are stronger than ever.]