Politics, government and public life for Southern California

10 little-known facts about American labor and Labor Day

Ohio Labor Day

Jason Perlman/Flickr

Labor Day parade in Marietta, Ohio.

Labor Day used to signify the last day of summer vacation, the turning point when voters started paying attention to the November election, the date when the Dodgers or Angels being in first place actually meant something.

But what do you really know about "labor" part of Labor Day? Here are ten facts to share over the weekend holiday.

  1. California has a greater number of union members than any other state  - 2.4 million.
  2. California lags behind New York in the percentage of its population that belongs to a union - nearly one in four, or 24 percent of New Yorkers are union members. About one in six, or 16 percent of Californians are union members
  3. Teachers are the largest group of union workers nationwide
  4. More than a third of all public sector workers are union members
  5. Just one in 15 workers in the private sector are union members
  6. The lowest number of union members can be found in agriculture, finance, and restaurants and bars - just about one percent of that population.
  7. The first Labor Day holiday wasn't on a Monday. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City.
  8. The Jewelers Union of Newark marched in that first Manhattan parade, bringing a band that played a lesser known hit "When I Put This Uniform On" from Patience, the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera.
  9. A dozen years later, in 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.
  10. There's a dispute about who invented Labor Day; but whoever it was, his name was McGuire - or is it Maguire? Some say Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, first suggested a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." But there's also a machinist named Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists who is said to have proposed the holiday in 1882.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD releases names in shooting, Mayor defends wage proposal, indicted senators use campaign funds for defense

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

The Los Angeles Police Department named the two officers involved in the shooting of Ezell Ford.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, Aug. 29, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

LAPD released the names of two officers who shot Ezell Ford, a mentally ill African-American man who was unarmed at the time of the shooting, reports KPCC. One of the officers was named in a 2011 civil lawsuit for allegedly beating a man and using pepper spray on him. That case was eventually dismissed.

During his appearance on KNX 1070, Mayor Eric Garcetti defended a proposal to increase the city's minimum wage. "We see Democrats and Republicans alike say the minimum wage is too low. There are lots of people who work full time that are below the poverty level, and when they need services, it’s the rest of us who pay for it," he said, per a write-up in the Daily News.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: DWP billing problems, Hilda Solis asked to testify, will state of Jefferson become a reality?

DWP

Alice Walton/KPCC

Customers with the Department of Water and Power continue to have billing problems and long wait times when they call to complain.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, Aug. 28, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The Hollywood Reporter looks at why Mayor Eric Garcetti's office allowed Live Nation's Made in America festival to come together without going through "the usual bureaucratic red tape." "Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino is a highly connected donor to national-level Democratic candidates ... And the skeptics point out that Live Nation's registered city lobbyist, Joshua Perttula, served as an adviser on Garcetti's transition team and remains close to the administration," per the Reporter.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Mayor Garcetti pushes new minimum wage, City Hall settles sexual harassment lawsuit, what's the future for ride-sharing companies?

Eric Garcetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to announce a new minimum wage proposal next week.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 27, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to announce a proposal next week that would increase the city's minimum wage to more than $13/hour, according to the Los Angeles Times, Daily News and LA Weekly. "Businesses will have to address the increased costs. They will either increase their price or lay people off or move their business," said Stuart Waldman with the Valley Industry and Commerce Association.

The city of Los Angeles will pay $75,000 to a former aide to Councilman Mitch Englander who sued the city and alleged she had been sexually harassed in the office, reports the Los Angeles Times. In her lawsuit, the former aide alleged the councilman suggested she was interested in public safety so "she could walk into the fire stations and be naked in front of the male firefighters." Englander has maintained that the allegations were false.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Mexican president visits LA, LAUSD cancels iPad contracts, Mayor Garcetti voices concerns about cable merger

Mexico President-California Visit

Damian Dovarganes/AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, greets Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto during a meeting with Mexican-American community leaders and others in Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 26, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Gov. Jerry Brown welcomed Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to California with a reception in downtown Los Angeles. "His visit follows a recent trade mission to Mexico by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has promised to have the two governments work more closely on immigration, climate change, energy and trade issues. Mexico, which last year was the recipient of $23.9 billion of California's exports, is the state's largest trade partner," per the Los Angeles Times.

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