Labor Day was first celebrated as a "workingmen's holiday" in New York in 1882, under the aegis of the Central Labor Union, at the suggestion of Peter McGuire of the Knights of Labor. Today it is observed nationwide on the first Monday in September. The quiz that follows explores the varied aspects of this welcome holiday.

1. Who is credited with saying, "There is no real wealth but the labor of man"?

a) Percy Bysshe Shelley

b) George Bernard Shaw

c) Abraham Lincoln

2. A trade union or labor union is an association of workers whose purpose is to improve economic status and working conditions primarily through:

a) strikes

b) collective bargaining

c) political lobbying

3. Historically, there have been two major types of labor unions. What are they?

a) skilled and unskilled

b) mechanical and arts-technical

c) craft unions and industrial unions

4. The UAW, or United Automobile Workers, is an example of:

a) a craft union

b) an industrial union

c) neither

5. Probably the best-known leader of the UAW was:

a) Samuel Gompers

b) John L. Lewis

c) Walter Reuther

6. The term "closed shop" refers to:

a) a company that's gone out of business

b) a company that hires only nonunion members

c) a company that hires only union members

7. A "company union" is:

a) an employee-controlled union having no ties to other labor organizations

b) usually most interested in recreational projects

c) not much different from other unions

8. Historically, labor unions developed in response to:

a) the exploitation of workers by dictators

b) worldwide economic depression

c) the Industrial Revolution

9. In the United States, labor unions began to appear in:

a) the 1830s

b) the 1850s

c) the 1870s

10. Two of the following were among the prominent early labor organizations. Which one was not?

a) the Knights of Labor

b) the Industrial Workers of the World

c) the Knights of Malta

11. Who said, "I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours"?

a) Mark Twain

b) Jerome K. Jerome

c) Calvin Coolidge

12. Name the source: "Labor disgraces no man, but occasionally men disgrace labor."

a) Ulysses S. Grant

b) Calvin Coolidge

c) Theodore Roosevelt

13. Of the following three U.S. labor leaders, who was born in England?

a) Eugene V. Debs

b) Samuel Gompers

c) John L. Lewis

14. Since its founding in 1886, the American Federation of Labor, or AFL, has emphasized the organization of skilled workers:

a) on a craft basis

b) on an industrial basis

c) on both a craft and an industrial basis

15. Two of the following were leaders of the AFL; who was not?

a) Samuel Gompers

b) George Meany

c) Big Bill Haywood

16. The Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, which advocated organizing workers in basic industries, such as coal, steel, autos and rubber, was founded in 1935 by:

a) Harry Bridges

b) John L. Lewis

c) William Green

17. Name the source: "Work is love made visible."

a) Ralph Waldo Emerson

b) Henry David Thoreau

c) Khalil Gibran

18. The children of Hollywood stars often follow in their parents' footsteps, but this is rare among union leaders. A notable exception is this union chief whose son also rose to head a union:

a) Walter Reuther

b) George Meany

c) James Riddle Hoffa

19. Over the years union goals have included job security, higher wages, shorter hours, workers' compensation and two out of the following, but not:

a) child labor laws

b) exemption of labor from antitrust legislation

c) higher salaries for union officials

20. In the process of collective bargaining, an employer:

a) agrees to discuss working conditions with an outside arbiter

b) agrees to discuss working conditions with a government mediator

c) agrees to discuss working conditions with employee representatives, usually a labor union

21. In an epochal event in union history, the AFL and the CIO, with a total membership estimated at 15 million, merged in:

a) 1945

b) 1955

c) 1965

22. New Deal laws--such as the Wagner Act of 1935, which created the National Labor Relations Board--are generally viewed as:

a) unfavorable to labor

b) favorable to labor

c) neither

23. Name the source: "The world is filled with willing people; some of them willing to work, the rest willing to let them."

a) Robert Frost

b) Emily Dickinson

c) Dorothy Parker

24. At its peak in 1945, U.S. trade union membership of the non-agricultural work force stood at approximately:

a) 65.5 percent

b) 55.5 percent

c) 35.5 percent

25. Name the source: "Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow."

a) Ogden Nash

b) Don Herold

c) Robert Benchley

26. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 was considered to be:

a) supportive of labor

b) restrictive to labor

c) neither

27. In 1980 the largest U.S. labor union, with 2.3 million members in 759 locals, was:

a) the United Auto Workers, or UAW

b) the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, better known as the Teamsters Union

c) the United Mine Workers of America, or UMW

28. A sizable number of states have passed "right-to-work" laws that:

a) favor immigrant labor

b) ban the closed shop

c) impose arbitration in labor disputes

29. Born in Australia, Harry Bridges became a militant American labor leader, best known for:

a) being deported as a communist alien

b) founding the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, the ILWU, in 1937

c) becoming a U.S. citizen

30. Once upon a time, when employees still worked very long hours, American labor forces launched a drive for an eight-hour day. A demonstration led by anarchists erupted into violence, with 11 people killed and 100 others wounded. This 1886 landmark event took place in Haymarket Square in what city:

a) Pittsburgh

b) Cleveland

c) Chicago

31. Of the following, the most radical in his thinking was:

a) George Bernard Shaw

b) Norman Thomas

c) Karl Marx

32. Name the source: "Work is the curse of the drinking classes":

a) Ogden Nash

b) Robert Benchley

c) Oscar Wilde

33. Name the source: "Man may work from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done":

a) Carl Sandburg

b) Edgar A. Guest

c) the very prolific Anonymous

34. Strikes, concerted work stoppages by employees to achieve economic goals:

a) are outlawed in many states

b) date back to Colonial times

c) are also known as lockouts

35. The first nationwide strike in the United states, by railroad workers, occurred in:

a) 1847

b) 1877

c) 1897


1. a; 2. b; 3. c; 4. b; 5. c; 6. c; 7. a; 8. c; 9. a; 10. c; 11. b; 12. a; 13. b; 14. a; 15. c; 16. b; 17. c; 18. c; 19. c; 20. c; 21. b; 22. b; 23. a; 24. c; 25. b; 26. b; 27. b; 28. b; 29. b; 30. c; 31. c; 32. c; 33. c; 34. b; 35. b.

Norman Zierold is a historian.

(C) 1999, Norman Zierold

Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate