What is Labor Day? - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

What is Labor Day?

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WSIL -- Many of us got to enjoy a day off in celebration of Labor Day. First recognized in 1894, the holiday emerged from of a long battle for workers' rights.

Now the holiday pays tribute to the contributions American workers have made for the well-being of our country.

Many of us celebrate the holiday with BBQs, parades and shopping, without knowing exactly why we celebrate. 

We found, most people at the Du Quoin fair, understood well, the reason for the holiday. 

"Back in the day, I don't think laborers were treated very well and then unions came in to be and I think it has something to do with that," said Kathleen McDonald. 

"It's a holiday for the working man," said David Behrens.

The holiday evolved from decades of tension between workers and unions and employers, something southern Illinois knows, all too well. 

37,000 strikes took place in the U.S. in the late 1800s, resulting in the deaths of nearly 800 American workers.

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