FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV)- Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law in 1894.
Before it was a federal holiday, individual states and labor activists celebrated Labor Day. Many historians credit Matthew Maguire, a secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in New Jersey, as the founder of the holiday. He proposed the idea to create a Labor Day in 1882.
It’s a day where kids around the country get off of school and most working people get a day off of work, but what’s the real meaning behind this holiday?
“Labor unions are the backbone of the middle class, they are where decent family wages come from,” says Vice President of the Fond du Lac Labor Council Steve Kirchhoff.
“Celebrating workers, everybody that puts their time in, and just keeps going every day,” says Dawn Smet who owns a bar called the Dog House in Fond du Lac.
“Celebrating the unions, they are very important,” says Molly Aird.
Labor Day is a big deal for the Fond du Lac Labor Council which advocates for worker’s rights all year long. They organize a parade that runs through Main Street each year to celebrate the holiday.
Families line both sides of the street to take it all in and the parade is a big hit with the kids.
“It was amazing and I’m hoping to be in it next year with the dirt bikes,” says seventh-grader Xander Nimmer.
“Usually the whole thing is just fun,” says 11-year-old Boston Mcbeth.
The parade, and the holiday in general, is also an opportunity for families and friends to spend some quality time together.
“Being able to spend time with them cooking out or swimming it’s nice to have the opportunity to do that,” says Smet.