Sep 04, 2020
It’s that time of year again; Labor Day is just around the corner! This holiday, created to celebrate the achievements of American workers and the working class around the world. On this day each year, Americans across the country gather in backyards around grills and picnic tables while they chow down on hot dogs, hamburgers and bevy of good old American comfort food.
On this day, it’s important to remember why you have the day off. Why you can afford to indulge in a cookout with your family, instead of working six days every week for barely any pay. Life as a member of the working class in America is pretty good, all things considered; but it hasn’t always been. The freedoms we enjoy today were hard earned and desperately fought for.
Labor Day commemorates a centuries long struggle by the working class to break free from the iron grip of unscrupulous business owners and corrupt politicians. It commemorates the steady conviction of millions of working class Americans who would not stop until they were treated fairly.
This struggle to claim rights from those who profited by withholding them was not an easy one. This is a story stained with the blood, sweat and tears of men, women and children, who fought for nothing more than the right to have a say in how, where and how long they worked. It was a fight for equal treatment of women, and humane treatment for children.
In the end, many of these rights were won, albeit at a great cost. Hundreds of workers striking for higher pay and more reasonable hours were massacred, and thousands more died as a result of unsafe working conditions and other abuses. Despite this, the efforts of workers unions and labor activists would gradually lead to better working conditions and treatment for laborers.
Today, the situation of workers in the U.S. is far better than it was decades or centuries ago; but many problems remain unresolved, and require our attention. Problems like wage stagnation, corporate anti-union subterfuge, unpaid maternity leave and unfair termination still make the average laborer’s life difficult and unpredictable.
When you celebrate this holiday, remember that it’s more than just a day to grill hamburgers and watch a football game; it’s a time to come together in support of workers rights. No matter what your social status or professional vocation, be sure to use your voice to advocate for fair and equal treatment for everyone. It won’t be easy, but together we can create a future where everyone is given fair and equal treatment.
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