Do you remember the history of Labor Day?
Labor Day was established in New York City by the Central Labor Union in 1882 for the purpose of establishing a “workingmen’s holiday.” Today it is recognized as a federal holiday in the United States. Labor Day is meant for us all to pause, and to be grateful for the contributions workers make to the strength, economic well-being, and longevity of our country.
Regionally, unions are still powerful and a part of the workplace and community. During some Fairs, union booths can be found. When I was in college, I worked a unionized grocery job in Minnesota. The benefits were: good pay, good employee benefits, a newsletter, access to a cabin for family stays (as I recall), and assorted things I’m not remembering 30-plus years later.
Now, I live in a state that is a “right-to-work” state which means that people are not required to join a union even if one exists. And some argue that forming a union to benefit employees is much more difficult in a right-to-work state.
Whether you are a union or non-union employee, a union or non-union company, or have a philosophy about unions and their evolution, I for one say that unions have ensured better working conditions across the nation. For the last two decades, I have wondered how unions will ensure ongoing benefits and improvements to their members. Please do share the stories and examples you are experiencing.
Lately, the Labor Day holiday has come to be another three-day-weekend for leisure pursuits, without a recognition of why it exists. So, hats off to those who came before us and those who work around us and beside us to produce the goods and services we all want each minute of every day. Here’s to the Laborers among us!