Labor Day is a Reminder of How Far We’ve Come

Labor Day is widely known across America as a celebration, but it’s so much more than just a three-day weekend. To union members, it’s a reminder of the struggles working people continue to face in our country. It’s a reminder of the sacrifices made by our forebears to earn workplace safety protections, a minimum wage, an end to child labor, and the right to join with our co-workers to advocate for ourselves in the workplace.

It’s a reminder that all progress is born in struggle.

I’m a proud member of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Local 22. I joined because I know that a union is more than just a membership card — it’s a movement that stretches back centuries. This weekend we celebrate the legacy of the men and women who fought and died to give us weekends, paid vacations, 8 hour workdays, and work breaks. And we remember that so much of what we take for granted was won at great cost.

Today, many of those hard won gains are still under assault. Safety violations are on the rise across the country, hazard pay and access to healthcare is being rolled back, and far too many of us are being forced to work without necessary protective equipment. No one should have to choose between their health and their job, but right now, this is all too common.

This weekend, I ask that you think of all of our neighbors working overtime instead of spending free time with their families. Think of the essential workers who have put their lives on the line for the past five months to keep us healthy and safe. And think about what you can do to make sure that all of us are treated with dignity when we show up for work.

Lacy Wolf

President, Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation

Official account of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation.