Who Actually Invented Labor Day?

While the majority of sources, including the U.S. Department of Labor, attribute Peter McGuire's creation of Labor Day to him, new evidence reveals that Matthew Maguire, a well-known union leader from the 19th century, may be the one responsible.

According to folklore, Peter McGuire proposed the concept of designating one day a year to commemorate work when he spoke before the New York Central Labor Union on May 12, 1882.

The power and camaraderie of the labor and trade groups should be openly displayed during the Labor Day street march, according to McGuire.

Young yet well-respected, Peter McGuire was a union leader.

He was an immigrant's child who dropped out of school at a young age to work. He established the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 1881, which went on to grow into the era's biggest labor organization.

The American Federation of Labor was later founded by McGuire and his buddy Samuel Gompers (AFL).

McGuire spearheaded the major strikes of 1886 and 1890 through the AFL and the Carpenters, which finally led to the eight-hour workweek being a national priority.

However, recently discovered information at the New Jersey Historical Society suggests that Matthew Maguire, a recognized union leader of the time, may have been the driving force behind the establishment of Labor Day.

The majority of the strikes Matthew Maguire organized in the 1870s aimed to bring the problems of factory workers and their long hours into the public conscience.

By 1882, Maguire had advanced to the positions of secretary and a key member of the Central Labor Union of New York.