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The rich history behind Labor Day

In the late 1800s, the average person worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week just to make ends meet. This led to labor unions demanding better pay and work conditions.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Labor Day is about a lot more than just a day off work, with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. 

Let's connect the dots

In the late 1800s, the average person worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week just to make ends meet. Sometimes, kids as young as 5 years old would work in factories and mines to help struggling families. The working conditions were extremely unsafe. 

Labor unions soon formed and organized strikes, calling on employers to give workers better hours and pay. On Sept. 5, 1882, thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march in New York City. That event is widely considered to be the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. 

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Eventually, Congress followed suit and passed an act making Labor Day a national holiday. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law in June of 1894. 

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