David Davis

Baltimore and the birth of organized labor

Baltimore and the birth of organized labor

And so ends another summer. No more swimmin' holes, hammocks, barbecues or lemonade. They're over, and summer's over.

That's what Labor Day is all about, right? The end of one season and the beginning of another? Wrong! Labor Day celebrates labor in the United States — the men and women who, through sweat of brow and dint of discipline, made this nation what it is, and who still do.

Labor Day has been around quite a while. The first relevant local ordinances passed in 1885; the first state law establishing Labor Day — Oregon's — passed two years later. Similar laws soon followed in 30 states, then a federal law in 1894. All this originated with Peter J. McGuire, general...