Labor Day Fun Facts

The sun is setting on summer as the Labor Day weekend arrives. In addition to being the last official day to wear white, Labor Day is a day dedicated to the achievements of American workers. So after sleeping in and firing up the grill for a final barbecue, check out these Labor Day Fun Facts below:

  • Father Labor Day. Peter McGuire, an Irish-American cabinet maker and pioneer unionist, is considered the founder of Labor Day. He proposed a day dedicated to all who labor at a meeting of the Central Labor Union on May 18, 1882.
  • Taking a Stand. In September 1883, New York workers staged a parade up Broadway to Union Square. Few, if any, workers got the day off. Most were warned against marching in the parade with the threat of getting fired. Despite the warning, more than 10,000 workers showed up for the march.
  • Thank you, Canada. Most Americans consider Labor Day a uniquely American experience, but Labor Day actually has its origins in Canada. Stemming from 1870’s labor disputes in Toronto, a parade was held in 1872 in support of a strike against the 58-hour workweek. As a result, 24 union leaders who were responsible for organizing the event were arrested under anti-union laws.
  • Third place. With 57 percent of Americans taking part, Labor Day is the 3rd most popular grilling holiday behind July 4th (71 percent) and Memorial Day (57 percent).
  • Dog Days. According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog season begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
  • Best Boss Ever – 10.3 million workers are self-employed. Another 5.9 million people work from home.
  • So much for equality. In 2009, the annual median income for male year-round workers was $47,127. The annual income for women? More than $10,000 less at $36,278. As of July 2011, there were 153.2 million people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force.
  • Grilled to perfection. The most popular foods for cooking on the grill are, in order: burgers (85 percent), steak (80 percent), hot dogs (79 percent) and chicken (73 percent).
  • On the side. The most common side dishes prepared on the grill are corn (41 percent), potatoes (41 percent) and other vegetables (32 percent).
  • Sassy Sauces. The most popular flavors of barbecue sauce are hickory, followed by mesquite, honey and then spicy-hot.
  • Pulling an all-nighter. About 16.5 million commuters leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m., representing 12.4 percent of all commuters.
  • Mustaches on the River is an annual event that takes place Labor Day weekend. Traditionally participants grow mustaches for this float down the Russian River in Healdsburg, California. Mustaches are judged at the end of the day and all proceeds benefit charity.
  • Thirty minutes or less. The average commute to work is 25.1 minutes. New York and Maryland have the most time-consuming commutes, averaging 31.4 and 31.3 minutes. About 3.2 million workers face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.

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