Celebrate Labor Day this year at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition’s 37th Annual Labor Solidarity Parade in Wilmington, California. The march starts at Broad and E Streets; assembly starts at 8:00 am and the march departs at 10:00 am. After the march, there will be a rally in Banning Park (PCH at “M”) at noon. There will be speakers, food and drinks, and lots of booths — including Labor United for Universal Healthcare, KPFK, many local unions, the IWW and others.

A little history on the origins of Labor Day: Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, was credited by AFL Pres. Sam Gompers as the “Father of Labor Day.” At an 1882 meeting of the NY Central Labor Union, McGuire introduced a resolution calling for workers to lead a “festive parade through the city” on the first Monday in September. More than 30,000 people participated in the first observation of Labor Day in 1882. In 1887, Oregon passed the first legislation in the country to officially recognize the “workingman’s holiday” – Labor Day. Within seven years, 30 other states had adopted the holiday.

In 1894, after sending in the Army and U.S. Marshals to break the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland sought appeasement with organized labor.  Legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law by Cleveland six days after the strike ended. (Many believe the government was trying to undermine May Day, May 1, established by anarchist and socialist trade unionists as International Workers’ Day out of the strike for the 8-hour day.)

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