Supply Chain Now Episode 446

“Many records point to McGuire as the first to call for a Labor Day to honor those that, “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

-Scott Luton, Host of This Week in Business History


The ‘This Week in Business History’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares some of the most relevant business and global supply chain events from years past. It will shine a light on some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and even lessons learned from our collective business history.  This week’s episode features the story behind Labor Day in the United States.

Scott Luton (00:11):


Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:14):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today on this special edition of this week in business history here on supply chain. Now we are focused on the week of September 7th. Today. We’re going to discuss labor day a holiday here in the U S that has been celebrated for over 120 years. So thank you for joining us here today on this week in business history, powered by our team here at supply chain now. So let’s dive into the history of labor day here in the States a day, set aside to celebrate members of our workforce past and present and their incredible contributions to our society. There has never been a perfect answer in terms of exactly who founded labor day. According to the us department of labor, it seems one of two individuals can lay the most likely claim. Peter J. McGuire was co founder of the United brotherhood of carpenters and joiners of America in 1881, many called Peter J. McGuire, the father of labor day, a carpenter political activists and trade unionists, many records point to McGuire as the first to call for a labor day to honor those that quote, who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grand juror.

Scott Luton (02:36):

We behold in quote others, point to Matthew Maguire, no relation as the first to call for a labor day. Matthew Maguire was a machinist from New Jersey. Interestingly enough, Matthew Maguire was the vice presidential nominee in the 1896 general election on the socialist labor party of America ticket. He and Charles H match it managed to get on the ballot in 20 States and garnered over 35,000 votes. Regardless, what is clear is that the first labor day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882 in New York city. I say celebrated, but actually it was a strike of sorts. As thousands of people gathered to protest deplorable working conditions that were rather common at the time, for example, unsafe factories and other working conditions, child labor standard work days of 12 hours or more seven days a week. And that’s just to name a few. Let’s describe the scene of the first labor day in this excerpt from an article from the us department of labor entitled labor days, pride, chaos, and kegs on labor’s first day, it goes on to describe the scene as such quote by 10:00 AM, the grand marshal of the parade, William McCabe, his AIDS and their police escort were all in place for the start of the parade.

Scott Luton (04:03):

There was one problem. None of the men had moved. The few marchers that had shown up had no music. According to McCabe. The spectators began to suggest that he give up the idea of parading, but he was determined to start own time with the few marchers that had shown up suddenly Matthew Maguire of the central labor union of New York, and probably the father of labor day ran across the lawn and told McKay that 200 marchers from the jewelers union of Newark to had just crossed the ferry. And they had a band just after 10:00 AM. The marching jewelers turned on to lower Broadway. They were playing. When I first put this uniform own from patients an opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, the police escort then took its place in the street. When the jewelers marched past McCabe and his aides, they followed in behind then spectators began to join the March.

Scott Luton (05:01):

Eventually there were 700 men in line in the first of three divisions of labor day marchers final reports of the total number of markers range from 10,000 to 20,000 men and women with all of the pieces in place, the parade marched through lower Manhattan, the Newark Tribune reported that quote the windows and roofs, and even the lampposts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of working men of all trades United in one organization in quote at noon, the marchers arrived at reservoir park, the termination point of the parade while some were turned to work most continued on to the post parade party at Wendell’s Elm park at 92nd street and ninth Avenue, even some unions that had not participated in the parade showed up to join in the post parade festivities that included speeches, a picnic and abundance of cigars and lager beer kegs mounted in every conceivable place from 1:00 PM until 9:00 PM that night nearly 25,000 union members and their families filled the park and celebrated the very first and almost entirely disastrous labor day in quote by 1894, 23 additional States had adopted a labor day holiday, but many historians also point to one other event that calls the United States to officially adopt a national labor day holiday on May 11th, 1894 in Pullman, Illinois, a town that is one of Chicago’s defined community areas, at least 12 striking railway workers lost their lives and what the Atlantic called America’s first true nationwide strike American troops and us marshals had been sent in to break up the strike, which had caused mail delivery to halt Tom magazine called it quote, one of the bloodiest strikes in U S history about a month and a half later on June 28th, 1894, president Grover Cleveland signed the law making the first Monday in September of each year, a national holiday mini Saul president Cleveland signing of the bill as an attempt to send an olive branch to labor unions and the country’s workforce, regardless the country finally had a day set aside to honor the nation’s workforce.

Scott Luton (07:28):

However, the American worker would have to wait years for certain practices to come into place. In 1916, president Woodrow Wilson signed the Adamson act, which made an eight hour work day standard in the railroad industry. It wasn’t until 1938 with the passing of the fair labor standards act that would make the eight hour work day, the new standard for all industries beyond railroad. In fact, this landmark legislation also established minimum wage overtime pay and child labor laws. Labor day has a strong connection internationally with may day, which is celebrated on May 1st or the first Monday in may, each year. Mayday has been observed for centuries where it largely focused on celebrating the return of spring. However, in the aftermath of the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886, Mayday was chosen by factions in the U S as international workers day. Now Mayday is an official holiday in 66 countries, but not wildly celebrated in the U S since that first labor day in 1882, the holiday has become known for cookouts vacations sales campaigns, and much more a consumer extravaganza, but I’d argue that in 2020 with the pandemic environment that we continue to face in the States and abroad, we should get back to labor days, roots and honor the incredible and thankless workers that keep our global economy moving better than that.

Scott Luton (09:05):

Even our brave workforce have risked their own safety so that us, the consumer could have access to food, clothing, medicines, and plenty of the non-essentials too. So if you are a warehouse professional working in an eCommerce fulfillment center, or a truck driver, or a loading dock worker, or a retail clerk, or a machinist working in a manufacturing plant, or any of the other millions of workers at home or abroad that have continued to make it happen. Thank you. On behalf of all consumers, we are eternally grateful for what you do each and every day. Every day certainly is labor day in one other somber item that occurs this coming week in business history, the 19th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist acts will be observed 2,977. Individuals lost their lives on nine 11, more than 25,000 individuals would be directly injured. There would be countless longterm health consequences for many and that day and the months that followed would forever change history across the globe business and otherwise on September 11th, 2001, I was on active duty in the United States air force stationed at McConnell air force base in Wichita, Kansas.

Scott Luton (10:29):

I’m sure we all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news. I recall getting an email from CNN, a special bulletin that claimed in a mishap and aircraft had struck the North tower of the world trade center in New York city. I thought for a second, that’s really odd. Of course, as everyone else would also realize just 17 minutes later, as a second plane struck the South tower. This was no mishap until the day that I die. I’ll never forget two things. The live shot of the South tower collapsing at 9:59 AM on September 11th. And secondly, the intense rage, anger and sense of loss that I felt along with many others that I served with. I hope to never again, be in the throws of struggling to contain

Speaker 3 (11:22):

Those emotions. We should.

Scott Luton (11:24):

I’ll never forget that day nor the sacrifices of so many ever since our hearts and prayers are certainly with the families that lost loved ones on that infamous day or in the weeks and months and years, that followed that wraps up our labor day edition of this week in business history right here on supply chain. Now from our family here two years, we wish you all the best. Be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought at supply chain. Now in particular, if you’ve enjoyed this show that we published in the main supply chain now program pipeline, be sure to subscribe specifically to this week in business history channel, you can find it and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of the entire team here this week in business history and supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best do good give forward and be the change that’s needed. Thank you to all of our men and women that make up the global workforce. We are so grateful for all that you do. And on that note, we’ll see you here next time on this week in business history. Thanks everybody.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott introduces you to This Week in Business History through our YouTube channel.

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Subscribe to Supply Chain Now:
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn:
Supply Chain Now Ranked #1 Supply Chain Podcast via FeedSpot:
Supply Chain Now Ranked #3 Supply Chain YouTube Channel:
Listen and Subscribe to Supply Chain is Boring on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to TECHquila Sunrise with Greg White on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to This Week in Business History on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to Veteran Voices on Supply Chain Now:
AIAG Virtual 2020 Supply Chain Conference:

Check Out News From Our Sponsors:
U.S. Bank:
Vector Global Logistics: