EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Monday’s rough weather may have changed Labor Day plans for some people.

The holiday’s about more than barbecues and beaches anyway.

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Today, we as a country pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American worker.s

In 1884, Congress passed and President Grover Cleveland signed an act making the first Monday in September each year a legal holiday, dedicated to the achievement of the American worker.

“It’s my day off today, so I am just going to go sightseeing in Manhattan and just show appreciation for everything they’ve done for us,” said Hempstead resident Nelson Garrido.

Garrido says Labor Day should not be taken for granted: It symbolizes hard earned victories for American workers’ rights.

The first march in 1882 eventually helped change labor laws for everyone.

The first union marches in New York City put discrimination front and center. The average American worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day. Children were exploited.

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“I hope there is further improvement when it comes to some of those laws,” one woman told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“In this country, we have a culture of work that is above a lot of other countries,” another man said.

“It allows all different kinds of people to have a day off,” a woman said.

People McLogan spoke to expressed gratitude for health care, changes to unfair conditions and time off.

Others are taking advantage of the unofficial last day of summer, getting last licks in, traveling into New York City to take in the sights and sounds, or perhaps heading to the beach for barbecues and the boardwalk.

For many, school starts tomorrow. Already practices are now underway for fall sports including soccer, football, field hockey and more.

It’s thanks to labor unions that most of us get a three day holiday, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported. Most spend it with family, relaxing and spreading the cheer.

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