Designating the Peter J. McGuire Memorial in Pennsauken, NJ as a national historic landmark ensures that McGuire’s service to our nation and the American labor movement is given the distinction it deserves. We thank our union brother, Congressman Donald Norcross, for introducing this legislation in Congress and applaud his ongoing leadership on behalf of all workers in New Jersey.
McGuire is considered the “Father of Labor Day” having been the one to propose the concept of a day in honor of American workers more than 130 year ago, one of his many contributions to the labor movement. In 1872, McGuire joined the Cabinet Makers Union of New York and, recognizing the need for one international union of wood workers, called for and led a convention of carpenters and joiners in Chicago in 1881 that formed the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners which later became the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. McGuire co-founded with Samuel Gompers the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions and, in 1886, reorganized it into the American Federation of Labor. McGuire successfully led the fight for the eight-hour day in 1890.
Given the challenges facing working families today, honoring a leader who championed unity and respect for all workers is an important piece of history that needs to be shared. Once again, we thank Congressman Norcross for ensuring that our labor history is preserved for current and future generations and will serve as a reminder that in our unity is our strength.