Labor Day is more than just another holiday

It’s time to remember we are celebrating the legacy of America’s labor movements


Zachary Navarra

127 years have passed since the first official Labor Day holiday and the fight for workers’ rights continues

No, Labor Day is not just the first day off of the school year.

Most of us probably don’t question days off from school. If you don’t need to wake up until noon, why question it? The truth is, there is a real irony in celebrating a holiday meant for workers while we live in a time that gives them little value. We have not seen inequality of this magnitude since the late 1800s.

Yet it was the late 1800s where Labor Day was born.

What started with over 10,000 workers leaving work to walk the streets of New York would eventually lead to a nearly two-decade-long clash of the classes. From the rise of the Populist Party that swept through the rural farm areas of America to the worker strikes and protests that challenged power in the cities, workers fought back.

Those workers won. They did not win in every category nor were they able to grab the presidency in 1896. But the battle for Labor Day, an official day to recognize the rights and values of workers, the working class won.

Now we face a time where the working class has been backsliding and losing for over 40 years, it’s time to start looking at what the real problem is. This is not as simple as Republican vs Democrat, or the rural heartland vs the metropolitan coasts.

Jobs are running away from middle America as fast as the cost of living is rising in our city centers. We have had Democrats and Republicans control our government, yet the problems keep getting worse.

The truth is neither party truly represents labor or workers’ rights. Both sides have factions and politicians that claim to champion the working class, yet neither side’s leadership truly does. The Democrats repealed banking regulations and pushed many of the modern trade deals while the Republicans gave billions of dollars in tax breaks to the richest among us.

If things are going to change, it might as well start with us. If worker’s rights are to be won, they must be fought for. It is time for the younger generation to take on this fight. From local elections to state propositions to the federal government, it all matters.

Labor Day is not just another day off from school, it’s a monument to the labor movements that have come before and a chance to think of the working-class movements to come.