Labor Day — A tribute to the American worker

Friday, August 24, 2018

Labor Day, a day to honor the American worker, was established by Congress in 1894. During the 19th century, the American worker worked 12 hours a day and often they worked seven days a week. Throughout the years, the nation gave increasing attention to the labor movement. The first celebration of Labor Day occurred on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. Government recognition first came when city ordinances were passed in 1885 and 1886 affecting the labor movement in New York and other eastern cities. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to enact legislation affecting the labor movement. The idea of a Labor Day came about as a part of the labor union movement, to recognize the contribution of men and women in the U.S. workforce. Today, the Department of Labor statistics reports there are 130 million Americans in full-time employment in the United States.

Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the American worker and has been set aside to remember the labor movement in the United States. Congress decreed that the first Monday in September is set aside as the official day to honor labor achievements.

Today, America finds itself experiencing changes in our economic system. Half of Americans now make less than $15 an hour. Of the 10 fastest growing jobs in America, eight are service sectors jobs that pay $15 an hour or less. The prosperity of our nation and growth of our economy depends not just on economic justice. A vibrant economy cannot exist without growing American communities, steeped in the fundamental American principles of liberty and justice for all.

Our nation was founded on the dreams of immigrants coming to America back in the 18th and 19th centuries. This was the time when the country welcomed immigrants to fill up the vast central plains and western coastal states of the United States. Today, the opportunity to achieve the American dream is jeopardized by an overburdened immigration system that happened because of mass uncontrolled immigration from Central America.

The word “productivity” is related to worker efficiency at getting work done. It is a standard used to quantify worker production. American workers stay longer in the office, at the factory or on the farm than their counterparts in Europe and most other rich nations. Americans produce more per person over the year. The productive figure is found by dividing the country’s gross domestic product by the number of people employed. The U.S., according to the report, exceeds all 27 nations of the European Union, Japan and Switzerland in the amount of wealth created per hour of work — a second key measure of productivity.

When working people stick together, they have the strength to ensure that our economy and democracy continue to grow and progress. When American working families rise, America rises. A rising America, where we can create an economy that works for everyone and a democracy where everyone has a voice is our goal.