For many of us, Labor Day is celebrated with barbeques and mini vacations as the last long weekend of summer. Yet, even as we pause to celebrate, our country is struggling to overcome a health crisis because of Covid-19 and with the economic problems that have resulted.
The efforts of organized labor over the years have helped to bring fair wages and better working conditions to the people of this country. Presently, we see a growing distance between the very rich and those who are slipping lower on the economic scale. We question whether, as a nation, we will support the rights and justice due to all those who work or are seeking work. Recalling the original struggles of labor to overcome unjust systems in order to achieve its basic needs, we know that, as Christians and citizens, we are called to look at Labor Day not from the narrow viewpoint of politics and party but from the demands of basic justice.
May God guide our nation in creating a more just economy that truly honors the dignity of work and the rights of workers.
Be grateful for the employment that you may have and compassionate toward those who seek work and cannot find it. Become aware of some of the underlying causes
of the current problem in our country. Be aware of what is being said and done in the public arena. Make choices as a citizen that will be for the common good.
Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.
Every perspective on economic life that is human, moral, and Christian must be shaped by three questions: What does the economy do for people? What does it do to people? And how do people participate in it?
Economic Justice for All, US Catholic Bishops
Unions and other worker associations have a unique and essential responsibility in this needed economic renewal. Our Church has long taught that unions are ‘an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies.’ … At their best, unions demonstrate solidarity by bringing workers together to speak and act collectively to protect their rights and pursue the common good.
Annual Labor Day Statement, the U.S. Catholic Bishops
It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…the factory, farm or office where we work…unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.
Every advance in this half-century-Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education, one after another-came with the support and leadership of American Labor.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
No one who works for a living should live in poverty.
Senator Edward Kennedy