September 8, 2015
By Justin Brannan
Labor Day marks the unofficial end of another summer but, more importantly, it is the one day we set aside each year to celebrate and honor the hardworking women and men who stood up for so many of the things we take for granted today.
Indeed, hardworking American values, civil rights, the 8-hour workday, the 40-hour workweek, weekends, minimum wage, overtime pay, safe workplace laws, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans… none of it would have been possible without the support, leadership, and sacrifice of American Labor. For as pedestrian as all of these things may sound, women and men fought and died for every one of these concepts.
This Labor Day, many of these hard-fought cornerstones of the middle-class are under siege yet again. Make no mistake, as big corporations continue to undermine workers' rights to organize, another Republican in Congress is burning the midnight oil, drafting legislation that will make life even easier for the rich and powerful.
The tremendous fight for $15 energized us all by reminding the world you can never underestimate the power of the people.
It is now up to us to build on that victory.
While we’re all enjoying the last day of a long weekend, let us not forget the meaning behind this important day. Now more than ever, as economic conditions continue to widen the gap between the wealthy and the working middle-class, let us reflect on the culmination of years of struggle by the labor movement and the incredible contributions to our society made by workers uniting together to improve their lives and ensure that everyone has a chance at living the American dream.
The path to the middle-class runs straight through a union hall and don't let anyone tell you different.
*** Justin Brannan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @justinbrannan