Every year, Labor Day is an opportunity for collective celebrations of the achievements of organized labor and the working class. The day is often celebrated with cook-outs, parades, and of course, lots of barbecuing. But the real power of Labor Day lies in its reminder of the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us and those still fighting for better pay, better working conditions, and a fairer world.
This year, the grassroots organizing efforts around labor rights have been particularly inspiring. From strikes to collective bargaining agreements, workers around the world have been taking steps to demand better pay and working conditions. In the U.S., the Fight for $15 campaign, which supports a minimum wage of $15 per hour, has been victorious in multiple states this year and the National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling giving graduate assistants the right to unionize is just another victory in the fight for fair wages.
Labor Days’ roots as an American holiday also serve to remind us of the importance of collective action. It was originally part of the labor movement’s push for the eight-hour workday, something that was ultimately successful after years of struggles. Whether it be unions, labor rights organizations, or other worker-advocacy groups, this day is a reminder of the power of organizing, collective action, and civil disobedience.
This Labor Day, as we take time to celebrate the accomplishments of organized labor, let us also reflect on how our current-day activism is helping to shape a better and fairer society. Fair wages, safe working conditions, and worker rights might still seem distant victories, but they are within reach if we continue to fight for them. Here’s to another year of labor rights and justice.