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Labor Day Reflection

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how we've improved this last 100 yearsThings have changed quite a bit since what became known as Labor was signed into law in 1894. The idea that in a democracy the demos (the people) should have leisure time on top of fair employment was not an idea congenial to many back then. Only since 1894 did Franklin D Roosevelt sign in a set of laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act that guaranteed a minimum wage, illegalize child-labor, as well as making a maximum work week of 44 hours, and protection on the job. Social Security was scaffolded and put into place, employment insurance was legislated, and workers were protected, since 1964, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, that they could not be discriminated against based on “Race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.”

Universal education combined with legislated leisure for everybody has made the country more free, and counts as progress. If we are willing to fight for it, things will look even better for job-seekers 100 years hence. After all, none of this came free, but required strikes, vision, marching, and the daring of those who insisted that we all should have time to live, be free, and enjoy life, instead of working like dogs for mere peanuts. Labor day ought to be a day for workers to consider their humanity as persons who own their time.

Labor Day Reflection by
Authored by: Andrew Ostler

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