Headshot of Eric Pullin

By Eric D. Pullin

Labor Day, which marks the “unofficial” end of summer, occurs annually on the first Monday in September.

Observed for more than a century in the United States, this national holiday “celebrates and honors the greatest worker in the world — the American worker,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of the American labor movement and the history of Labor Day.

1. In what year did Labor Day become a U.S. national holiday?

By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day. (Wikipedia)

2. What was the name of the character who symbolized the working women of World War II in the famous “We Can Do It!” campaign?

Rosie the Riveter was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II, and she became perhaps the most iconic image of working women. (History)

3. Which was the first U.S. state to make Labor Day a holiday?

In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. (Wikipedia)

4. According to the Department of Labor, in which country was the first Labor Day celebrated?

Labour Day, the first Monday in September, has been a statutory holiday in Canada since 1894. It originated in the first workers' rallies of the Victorian era. (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

5. According to the Department of Labor, in which city did the first American celebration of Labor Day occur?

The very first Labor Day was held on a Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The day was celebrated with a picnic, concert and speeches. Ten thousand workers marched in a parade from City Hall to Union Square. (America's Library)

6. Which organization planned the first Labor Day celebration in the United States?

"Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. (Wikipedia)

7. Who was the leader of the American Railway Union during the Pullman Strike?

Eugene V. Debs was the president of the American Railway Union (ARU), which represented about one-third of the Pullman workers and which had concluded a successful strike against the Great Northern Railway Company in April 1894. (Britannica)

8. Which types of unions are regulated by the National Labor Relations Board, established in 1935?

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (also known as the Wagner Act) is a foundational statute of United States labor law which guarantees the right of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining, and take collective action such as strikes. (Wikipedia)

9: Which congressional act banned union contributions to political candidates?

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 barred both labor unions and corporations from making expenditures and contributions in Federal elections. (

10: Walter Reuther was the fourth president of which labor union?

Walter Reuther was president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from 1946 until his death in 1970. Under his leadership, the UAW grew to more than 1.5 million members, becoming one of the largest unions in the United States. (AFL-CIO)

ANSWERS: 1-C, 2-B, 3-D, 4-A, 5-C, 6-D, 7-D, 8-B, 9-A, 10-B

About the Author 

Eric D. Pullin is chair of the History Department at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Honored Visiting Faculty with the Ashbrook Center. He wrote this for

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