Labor Day isn’t a day off. It’s a memorial to the battle workers have waged for respect, honor, and recognition.
Born out of mass protests against child labor, sweatshops, and worker exploitation in the 19th century Labor Day was a protest and celebration – a day of unpaid leave where workers came together to celebrate their labor and show employers exactly who made industries and shops run.
It wasn’t until a massive railroad strike forced congress and President Grover Cleveland – a sworn enemy of working people – to make Labor Day an official holiday, much against their will.
So Labor Day, like the weekend, the eight hour day, minimum wage, wage equality, and many other things we take for granted today was a victory delivered to our nation through the collective organizing and courage of workers and unions.
As we take the day off, or work (with holiday overtime), it is important to reflect on the sacrifices of our union brothers and sisters that made this day possible. It is important to honor them by rededicating ourselves to the collective success of our union and every worker in our industries and beyond. It is important to honor ourselves, our labor, and our contributions both to our workplaces and our communities.
And it is most important to remember that all these victories, all these benefits, all these contracts, laws, and regulations were won by our sacrifice and solidarity, never given.
Onward to more victories.
John M. Grant