Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Meaning of Labor Day 2021

Labor Day, which honors American workers, was established well over a century ago in 1894. The holiday emerged from a cauldron of worker unrest protesting against harsh, unfair and unsafe working conditions.  Indeed, there were strikes and even violence in the early years of the fight for workers’ rights.  Over the ensuing decades, organized labor gained membership and power as increasing numbers of workers sought out union protections.   Those numbers have declined over time for several reasons.  Currently, about 11% of workers belong to unions.




While I have not always supported organized labor’s positions and actions, I certainly agree that every employee -union or non-union - is entitled to a fair wage and safe working conditions.

It’s been a very tough year for labor and for the rest of us.  When a company or a business is forced to close by an enemy that we can’t see or touch, toxic ripples spread out far and wide.   When a restaurant shuts down, for example, imagine how many people are impacted directly and indirectly.

Many important holidays seem to have lost their meaning.  Labor Day for many has become a day to purchase sale items or to throw burgers on the grill.  Memorial Day’s significance has similarly dimmed.

Let's honor all those who have built this country, fought for fairness and are still laboring to lead us forward.

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