This weekend we celebrate the holiday that for many of us signifies the end of summer. As we gather to celebrate, let’s not forget the origins of this holiday and remember why we pause to relax and enjoy our day off.
Labor Day was founded by an act of Congress in June of 1894 primarily to recognize the achievements of working men and women. Over the years, workers in America have achieved many great things and have seen many changes. We have witnessed advances in technology, increases in health and safety, improved working conditions, time off (paid and unpaid), increases in wages and benefits, and many other items that affect our social and economic lives.
While in most cases, these changes have had a positive impact, many of us continue to suffer from inequality in the workplace. Women, immigrants, persons of color and even children continue to fall prey to inequity — and they cannot be forgotten.
Whether butcher, baker or candlestick maker, one constant remains: we all have a sense of pride and take dignity in whatever occupation we have.
It’s no wonder that we celebrate Labor Day by taking a day off. On average, American workers between the ages of 25 and 54 spend 37 percent of our day working. So while we take this time off to celebrate, let’s not forget that this country’s engine is fueled by the efforts of each and every one of us that collect a paycheck to support ourselves, our families and this great nation.