In the spirit of Labor Day, here’s a chance to put the “strongest muscle” in your body to work – the brain.
Take this true/false quiz to see how much you know about the end-of-summer holiday:
The first Labor Day parade in U.S. history was held September 5, 1882, by 10,000 workers in New York City.
True. Unions rose to prominence in the 18th century, and as they gained more strength and recognition, they started organizing rallies, strikes, and other activities. The New York City Parade was one of them.
Congress declared Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894.
True. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the declaration was prompted by developments surrounding the Pullman Palace Car Company. On May 11, 1894, company employees went on strike in Chicago to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Six weeks later, a boycott of all Pullman railway cars was called for by the American Railroad Union, which tied up railroad traffic around the country.
In response, the federal government ordered troops to Chicago, sparking riots that resulted in the deaths of more than 12 workers. To calm the nation and heal the strife with union workers, Congress passed an act in late June of that year making Labor Day a legal holiday. The first Monday in September was chosen as the official date for the annual celebration.
Massachusetts was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday.
False. It was actually Oregon that made that move in 1887.
Labor Day originated in Canada.
True. According to historians, Labor Day began in Toronto in 1872 as a demonstration demanding equal rights for workers. The movement quickly spread south to the United States.
The average American worker in the late 1800s put in 6-hour work days and only toiled for 4 days a week.
False. On the contrary, workers averaged 12-hour days and were on the job 7 days a week. What’s more, children as young as 5 to 6 years old worked in factories and mines.
The Adamms Family Act firmly established the 8-hour work day.
False. It was actually the Adamson Act in 1916 that became the first federal law to regulate hours of workers in private companies.
There are more Americans who are members of unions today than ever before.
False. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14.8 million union workers in 2015. That compares to 17.7 union workers in 1983, which was the first year for which comparable data was available.
Labor Day is celebrated in much of the world on May 1.
True. More than 80 countries around the globe look on Labor Day as synonymous or linked with International Workers’ Day, which occurs on May 1.
Labor Day marks the official end of summer.
False. The first day of fall is the autumnal equinox, which is usually Sept. 21.
Labor Day is the unofficial end of hot dog season.
True. That’s according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which says that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans gulp down an incredible 7 billion hot dogs.
If you answered at least half of these correctly, treat yourself to a hot dog! And have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.