Labor Day: Recognizing the Contributions of All Workers
On the first Monday in September 1894, the U.S. celebrated its first national Labor Day celebration, as a way to recognize the social and economic achievements of workers in the U.S. Today, the Heartland Workers Center (HWC) wishes to congratulate all workers for the work they have done and the contributions they have made over the last year to the state of Nebraska and the nation. And while many people will celebrate the day with end-of-summer barbecues and parades, we must also take time to reflect upon the reality of our nation and what this day means for us, particularly when so many families continue to struggle as workers experience unsafe work conditions, low wages and no benefits, or the constant threat of deportation.
Yet among this often difficult reality, there are signs of hope as we – community leaders, organizations, and workers – work collectively to improve conditions and opportunities for all the nation’s workers. In the 2014 Nebraska Legislature, state senators are looking at introducing proposals that would increase the state’s minimum wage and provide greater protections for workers against wage theft. Trainings on OSHA standards and other labor laws create a more informed and secure workforce. Organizations across the nation are working to improve and pass immigration policies that would keep families together, stop deportations, and provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families. The road to building this new reality is not easy, but it must be done to build a community that truly works for all.