While most sources, even the Department of , credit Peter McGuire with the origination of Labor Day, recent evidence suggests that the true father of Labor Day may in fact be another famousof the 19th Century, Matthew Maguire.
According to, Peter McGuire before the New York Central Labor Union on May 12, 1882, to suggest the idea of setting asidedays a year to honor labor. McGuire believed that Labor Day should “beby a street which would publicly show the strength andof the trade and labor organizations.”
Peter McGuire was a, though, union leader. A child of, he quit school at an early age to go to work. In 1881, he founded, which would become thetrade union of the time. Later, McGuire would join with his, Samuel Gompers, to the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Through the AFL andMcGuire led the great strikes of 1886 and 1890, which would eventually result in the adoption of the eight-houron the nation’s.
Recently, however, evidence uncovered at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark reveals that anotherunion of the day, Matthew Maguire, may quite possibly be thebehind the creation of Labor Day.
In the 1870s, Matthew Maguire led several, most of which were intended totheof manufacturing workers and theirhours into the public consciousness. By 1882, Maguire had become the secretary of and a leadingin the Central Labor Union of New York.
According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Clevelandinto law the creation of a national Labor Day, The Paterson (N.J.) Morning Call published an opinion piece entitled, which stated that “the souvenirshould go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is theauthor of Labor Day as a holiday.” This editorial also referred to Maguire as the “Father of the Labor Day.”
So why has Matthew Maguire been overlooked as the “Father of Labor Day”?
According to The First Labor Day Parade, by Ted Watts, Maguiresome politicalthat were considered fairlyfor the day and also for Samuel Gompers and his American Federation of Labor. Allegedly, Gompers did not want Labor Day to become associated with the sort of “radical” politics of Matthew Maguire, so in a 1897 interview, Gompers’ close friend Peter J. McGuire was assigned the credit for the origination of Labor Day.