Thursday, September 1, 2022

Happy Labor Day!


On “Labor Day (we) pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers”.

The origins of Labor Day and the Labor Movement began during “one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters” during the Industrial Revolution. At that time “the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks” and “children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country”.

The workers, especially the very poor and recent immigrants, “faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks”.

As a result of these working conditions, labor unions gained traction and companies fought back. They organized strikes in an attempt to increase safety and pay, while decreasing the grueling working hours.

“In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law”.

Learn more about the history of Labor Day here!

The fight to ensure workplace safety and fair, equitable treatment continues today.

The passage of important labor protection laws were crucial in this fight. They gave the American worker increased job safety, the right to employment benefits, and fair hiring and promotion practices. 

The Top 8 of these Labor Protection Laws govern:

  • Minimum Wage ~ ensures American workers receive a standardized “minimum wage” for their work
  • Workplace Safety ~ Occupations Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA)
  • Health Coverage ~ legislation to make health insurance a right for workers as most medium and large sized businesses
  • Social Security ~ Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935
  • Unemployment Benefits ~ helps those who are unemployed for “reasons outside their control”
  • Whistleblower Protections ~ protects the rights of employees if they speak up about an employer who violates the law
  • Family Leave ~ Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed into law by President Clinton in 1993.
  • Employment-Based Discrimination ~ The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against an individual on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”. In 2009 the Ledbetter Fair Play Act increased the list to include women and minorities.

Find out more in “Laws that Protect Employees”.

So while we need to understand the origins and reasons we celebrate Labor Day, we must not forget the number one reason to pay tribute ~ the American workers themselves!

We are the laborers, the innovators, and the dreamers. We are the teachers, the caretakers, the craftsmen. The scientists, the protectors, and the multitude of other workers that make up the labor force of this nation.

It is our contributions day in and day out that are the backbone of our nation. We keep ourselves, our families, our cities, states, and country running and successful. 

And now it’s time to celebrate! Happy Labor Day!

Authored by   

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