Tomorrow as you enjoy your picnic and day off for Labor Day, remember to thank unions. This annual holiday which celebrates workers and their achievements was first proposed by union leaders in the early 1880s and became an official holiday in 1894.
That’s pretty amazing considering a 12 hour work day and a 7 day work week was not uncommon and workers as young as six worked in mills, mines, and factories in many states.
Thanks to labor unions laws passed to regulate working conditions, air quality, work hours, and a “workingman’s holiday”. Not only did these laws impact union members, but most U.S. workers, even in businesses or industries where employees are not represented by unions.
Besides tomorrow’s holiday, here are some other reasons you should thank a union:
- eight hour workday
- paid vacation
- sick leave
- Social Security
- overtime pay
- child labor laws
- workplace safety standards
- employer health care insurance
- holiday pay
- worker’s comp
- 40-hour workweek
- breaks, including a lunch break
- minimum wage
Unions have fallen out of favor recently, but I’m proud to have been a member of N.E.A. since 1979. After all, any business with a union deserves one.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!