NEW JERSEY - The three day Labor Day weekend typically marks the unofficial end of summer as most teachers and students head back to school on the days following the federal holiday. Labor Day dates all the way back to the late 1800s. The concept to recognize the contribution of America's workers was born from the labor movement which fought to bring proper working conditions, hours and pay to the nation's growing workforce.
A Labor Day to celebrate America's workers was a popular concept with businesses and industries across the US, but not necessarily with the federal government. Labor Day did not become a federal holiday until 12 years after the first Labor Day was marked on the first Monday in September. It wasn't until after a strike at Chicago's Pullman Palace Car Company turned bloody that Congress passed a law making Labor Day a federal holiday.
Twelve workers were killed when the government sent troops in to put an end to the Chicago strike impacting railroad traffic throughout the US. The bill officially became a law on June 28, 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed it. However, there is not one single person who is given credit for creating the Labor Day holiday. Some historians credit the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, Peter J. McGuire while others point to Matthew Maguire, the secretary of the Central Labor Union as the person responsible for the holiday to celebrate workers.
Today many of America's workers enjoy a three day weekend to say goodbye to summer though a large portion of the nation's workforce does not. Most retail shops and restaurants stay open on Labor Day, especially those located along the Jersey Shore.
So, for those Garden State residents not heading to work on Labor Day Monday, what is open and what's closed?
Since Labor Day is a federal holiday, all federal, state and local offices are closed. Schools are closed as well along with post offices, banks and the stock market. FedEx and UPS are both closed for Labor Day, so package deliveries will have to wait until Tuesday. All four of New Jersey's National Parks are open on Labor Day. Beaches are open for Labor Day. Most shore towns employ lifeguards through the first full weekend of September.
Most major retailers are open for business on Labor Day Monday including Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe's and Home Depot. Costco, however, is closed on Labor Day. Supermarkets like ShopRite and Stop & Shop are open, but pharmacy hours may be different on Labor Day.
Just like stores many Garden State restaurants welcome customers on Labor Day. Panera Bread has regular hours on Labor Day as does Dunkin. Starbucks is open on Labor Day too, but local shops may adjust their hours for the holiday.
While most large retailers and restaurant chains are open for business on Labor Day, residents should call or check the website of their favorite local shops and eateries before heading out on September 2. The majority are open, but some may close for the holiday.
Most New Jersey Transit buses follow a Sunday schedule on Labor Day, but there are several bus routes that do not have service on September 2 or are following a Saturday schedule. New Jersey Transit's website recommends checking their website to see what schedule a particular bus line is following on Labor Day. The same is true for NJ Transit Trains. NJ Transit Trains follow a Sunday schedule on Labor Day, but to be sure head to the NJ Transit website.