Labor Day signals the end of barbeque season, the beginning of school, multiple town parades, and a whole lot of sales. But there’s so much more to Labor Day than just getting an extra day off to enjoy a three-day weekend.
In fact, the first “Labor Day parade” wasn’t a parade at all – it was a strike – on September 5, 1882.
Tens of thousands of union laborers marched from New York City Hall to Union Square, protesting deplorable working conditions. This included workers as young as five years old laboring in unsafe conditions on farms and in factories, mills, and mines without access to clean water or fresh air for 12-plus hours a day without a break, often seven days a week.
Laborers Gain Rights
The attention this and other strikes brought slowly began to change the laws regarding working conditions, particularly affecting Child Labor Laws.
As times have evolved, many more laws were dedicated to modern workers including recent changes to give certain rights to pregnant and nursing mothers as well as contract workers, independent contractors, gig workers, and others.
Compared to those who have paved the way, our jobs are quite cushy, and enjoying a day off, not to mention an extra day off, would be considered “luxurious” to past generations.
Time to Give
Volunteering is a powerful expression of solidarity with the spirit of Labor Day. Just as workers contribute their time and effort to drive progress in various industries, volunteers dedicate their time and skills to serve their communities.
The relationship between Labor Day and volunteer hours becomes most meaningful when we consider how these hours can be harnessed to benefit the community.
Here are 10 volunteering opportunities so you can make the most of your Labor Day. So, join us in a meaningful and rewarding way to honor those who have provided each of us with the opportunity to pursue the careers of our choice.