What is Labor Day?
Labor Day recognizes the creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
It’s a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the U.S.
The first Labor Day was recognized with a street parade hosted by the Central Labor Union in September 1882 in New York City. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but in 1887, Oregon became the first state to pass a Labor Day law. In 1894, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.
Labor Day was born from sociopolitical efforts to unify union workers and reduce work time. The vital force of labor fostered high standards of living in the U.S. and the greatest production the world has ever known. Therefore, it is appropriate that our nation pays tribute to the vast contributions of workers past, as well as the ongoing contributions of current workers.
Today, many Americans associate the holiday with a day off from work, as well as social activities such as picnics, races, parades, and shopping. For some, Labor Day marks the end of summer.
Work conditions across the manufacturing industry, and the workforce in general, have improved since the late 19th century. Although we continue to reap the benefits of the labor movement, we know that our work is not done.
Families across Williamson County and Middle Tennessee are met with social and economic obstacles that deeply affect the wellbeing of their families, and the livelihood of their posterity.
At United Way, we work toward building a network of community resources so that families can access these resources and obtain the help they need to achieve stability. Employment is just one piece of the puzzle; it’s one step toward financial stability. Families also need access to skills and job training programs, which are provided by Partner Programs such as the Adult Learning Center and Begin Anew of Middle TN. In addition, our Free Tax Prep program helps low-income and income-restricted individuals and families receive tax credits the increase their annual returns, thereby “maximizing” their labor.
United Ways across the country fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. United Way’s partnership with labor unions and coalitions goes back 75 years. Each United Way organization build partnerships throughout our respective communities to ensure that workers can play an active role in building stronger communities.