We need more days like Labor Day and stronger unions to get them

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders pickets with Iowa workers last week. As a senator, Sanders also recently introduced legislation that would guarantee paid vacation time to full-time workers.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders pickets with Iowa workers last week. As a senator, Sanders also recently introduced legislation that would guarantee paid vacation time to full-time workers.

Today is Labor Day, a day on which millions of Americans will enjoy a luxury that, sadly, is rarely afforded to them: a day off from work.

Unlike some holidays, there’s little ambiguity about what Labor Day represents. It’s a day that first gained momentum, and eventually legal status, in the late 1800s. Organized labor had been fighting bloody battles with factory owners and police to help end the injustices of the Gilded Age, and Labor Day was set aside to recognize the contributions of those workers to America’s success.

Now, workers have their holiday, but also face the very real prospect of a return to that Gilded Age. Wages are stagnating, hours are increasing, benefits and pensions are disappearing, and union-busting is back in full force. And all of this is happening at a time when GDP is expanding and the wealthiest Americans are the richest they’ve ever been. Continue reading

Advertisements