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History of Labor Day

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the law designating the first Monday in September a holiday for workers. Two decades later, Rosa McKay was elected to the Arizona State Legislature where, in July of 1917, she began fighting for miners on strike in Bisbee.

McKay’s support of laborers got her run out of town, but not before House Bill 3 was passed – a minimum wage act for women – signed into law by Gov. Thomas E. Campbell on March 8, 1917. When she died (in 1934, at the age of 53), the Grand Canyon State flag flew at half-mast in honor of McKay.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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