Labor Day was born 1884 during a period of working mens “upheaval” led by a
organization known as the “Knights of Labor” formed 1869 in Philadelphia, organized
by a garment worker, Uriah H. Stephens, wanting to establish “industrial democracy” between
employers, professional men, tradesmen, office workers and unskilled laborers.
Knights of Labor was a slow grower, it had in 1878 had only 10,000 members, but by 1882
the membership grew to 52.000 and was a nation wide organization.
“Knight's of Labor” soon became the “American Federation of Labor” , the AFL, under the leadership of Samuel Gompers, which took on the many reforms and demands. Government bureaus came in effect to provide safety of workers, prohibit child labor, began the eight hour day and urged arbitration in place of strikes.
Labor Day on the first Monday in September is a legal holiday in every state in the union except New Mexico where it is observed by special proclamation each year.