Brothers and Sisters,
For many people in NYC, Labor Day is just another Monday off, one in a long line of long weekends each year that coincides with a vacation, relaxing one extra day with loved ones – some gearing up for a new school year. But for the labor community, those involved in the day-to-day battle that is being a member of a labor union, Labor Day is an annual reminder of all the rights we’ve won, but also how easy it can be for a worker to lose their voice.
Labor Day is about workers coming together to protect the 40-hour workweek, the weekend, overtime pay, child labor laws, and so many other worker safeties and privileges that get taken for granted year-round. Labor Day is about workers’ history, and the courage to stand up and say that all workers deserve dignity and fair pay. Labor Day is about the workers’ future, and how a movement like “right-to-work” needs to be halted, and laws like Davis-Bacon need to be defended. Just like it was in securing each of the incremental victories we have had over the years, the labor movement is sadly always at war with those greedy enough to think workers are simply a cog in the machine as opposed to real people with families to take care of.
That is why it is imperative that you VOTE NO on Prop 1 on November 7th. In the November general election, you will be asked to vote on whether or not New York should hold a convention to change our state constitution. A Convention would be an easy and expedited route for politicians and corporate lobbyists to take away your wages, benfits, and rights. And to make matters worse, you’d have to pay the price tag—hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. This Labor Day, make a pledge to VOTE NO on Prop 1 on November 7th. Click here to sign the pledge and learn more.
Peter J. McGuire, both a founder of the UBC and Labor Day itself, noted that this day wasn’t about the aggressive throes of war the country found itself in at the time, but instead “[i]t is dedicated to peace, civilization and the triumphs of industry; It is a demonstration of fraternity and the harbinger of a better age – a more chivalrous time, when labor shall be best honored and well rewarded.” In securing this holiday in early September, McGuire was trying to celebrate the victories he knew would come to workers one day, and to make sure they had one day off a year from the battles he knew the labor movement would continue to face.
Honor generations past and enjoy the day off with your family and friends because it has been well earned. Come march with the NYCDCC next Saturday, September 9th in the annual Labor Day Parade, proof that this city still holds workers like you in high regard. And when you go back to work, and get back in the swing of things, remember that it is workers uniting and raising their voices together that has gotten us this far, and that will protect us in the future as well.