Labor Day is more than just a day off. It is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The labor movement began in the late 19th century because “the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living.” And even though many states prohibited it, children as young as five or six were often forced to worked in mills, factories and mines, according to History.com. Due to the long hours, unsafe and unsanitary working conditions, and poor treatment by management, labor unions organized and the idea of a labor holiday caught on as more and more people sought a peaceful way to protest for better working conditions and for eight-hour workdays.
Ultimately, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September a legal holiday, dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Today, we celebrate Labor Day by annually reflecting on the American workers’ contributions. Each year, labor unions hold parades in remembrance of the rights we’ve won and the first Labor Day parade held on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City.
Federally Employed Women (FEW) is an organization that represents federal workers. We appreciate our members’ daily actions to help this country ,and ask that you take a moment of silence to thank the hardworking men and women from the late 1800s for their efforts to create the much-improved working conditions we now enjoy.
Happy Labor Day, America.