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Labor Day Curriculum Resources

Labor Day honors the American worker and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life. The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York. Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. Here are some Labor Resources to help you and your students learn more about our working men and women.


  • American Labor Studies Center
    This website offer resources for K-12 teachers, including labor lesson plans, labor songs, labor quotes, timelines, biographies, and more.
  • American Labor Museum
    See a video history of The House on the Green (20 min) (the house that is now the American Labor Museum/Botto House) and the 1913 Paterson Strike.
  • AFL-CIO: Labor History Timeline
    This webpage provides an annotated timeline for labor history events from 1607 to 2000.
  • The Triangle Factory Fire - March 25, 1911
    The Triangle Factory Fire is widely considered a pivotal moment in history, leading to the transformation of the labor code of New York State and to the adoption of fire safety measures that served as a model for the whole country. (NEA-compiled resources)
  • The Triangle Factory Fire
    This rich resource provides original text documents, interviews of survivors and witnesses, and photographs and illustrations. From the Kheel Center at Cornell University.
  • NEA: Combatting Negative Views of Unions: A Defense of Labor Studies (PDF, 86 KB, 12 pgs.)
    Victor G. Devinatz, Professor of Labor Relations at Illinois State University, talks about the role of unions in promoting social justice, helping to pass employment-related legislation that has benefited unionized workers and nonunion employees, having positive effects on productivity, and unions' importance in maintaining a healthy democratic society.
  • National Public Radio
    Listen to a working lesson in American history from Jeff Cowie, a professor at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, in A Brief History of the Labor Movement. (2006) (audio 5:49 min)
  • United Association for Labor Education
    This site offers numerous resources, including labor education in K-12.

Lesson Ideas