Why do we observe Labor Day?

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – When you think of Labor Day, many people think of traveling. It’s also traditionally thought of as the unofficial end of summer.

Cookouts and trips to the beach are how many people chose to celebrate Labor Day. The national holiday however dates back over 100 years and it’s more than just the unofficial end of summer.

Smoke-free flights, weekends off, health and safety regulations, no more child labor, and even lunch breaks are just a few of the things Americans have to celebrate this long holiday weekend. Workers can thank the U.S. labor movement for all those changes and many more over the past two centuries.

The first Labor Day dates back to 1882 in New York City.

However, labor unions are not as popular as they once were.

According to the Department of Labor statistics, membership numbers are down. In 1983, the country had 17.7 million members, a union membership rate of 20 percent. Last year, just 11 percent of workers were union members.

Although union membership is down there have been developments in labor, including the possibility of raising minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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