There are 2 different traditions concerning who founded Labor Day: Some state Peter McGuire, the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, while others contend that it was in fact Matthew McGuire, a machinist, who founded Labor Day in the United States.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. Ten thousand workers took an unpaid holiday to march in the first Labor Day parade.
The American Federation of Labor declared in 1909 that the Sunday before Labor Day would be Labor Sunday on which the spiritual and educational ideas of the labor movement would be emphasized.
On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland, long a foe of organized labor, but under voter pressure, signed a Labor Day holiday bill designating the first Monday in September for the holiday.
Detroit was at the heart of the labor movement. Thousands of men and women struck the plants and shops and marched the streets demanding a fair shake. On April 3, 1837, the city’s first strike broke out among the carpenters and journeymen seeking 10-hour work days and $2 pay.
As the Labor Day history reveals the rallies in Detroit became the launching pad for Democratic presidential candidates to announce their campaigns. Candidates Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson came to Detroit to jumpstart their races and woo union support.