The history and meaning of Labor Day

Labor Day, like Martin Luther King Day, arose out of a struggle for human rights—the right of workers to bargain collectively for better wages, hours and working conditions.

Thanks to the struggle of labor unions, we Americans (some of us) have an eight-hour day and 40-hour week, weekends off, paid vacations, workers compensation for injury on the job and contracts defining the obligations of employers and employees.   And if fewer and fewer of us enjoy these rights, it is because of the eroding power of organized labor.

Here are links to articles on the history of  Labor Day and North American labor struggles.

Labor Day History: 11 Facts You Need to Know by Nate Hindman and Craig Kanally for Huffington Post.

When Labor Day Meant Something by Chad Broughton for The Atlantic Monthly.

The Forgotten Meaning of Labor Day by Jack Marshall on his Ethics Alarms web log.

The First Labour Day in Canada on the Canada’s History web site.

Debunking the Myth: The True History of Labor Day by Eugene E. Ruyle for Popular Resistance.  Why the U.S. labor holiday is not on May Day.

Organizing “The Organized” Is Now the Key to Union Survival by Steve Early for Counterpunch.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

 

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