In recognition of Labor Day, the SMART Workplace team is taking a step back from our traditional message to celebrate how far the workforce has come since the very first Labor day on September 5, 1882. On that day, 10,000 workers took unpaid time to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.
Back then, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions. They had insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. (Thank you to the History Channel website, for providing this quick history lesson. http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day)
With this in mind, we can all be proud of the progress we have made in the last 135 years. Just imagine where we will be in another 100 years. Equal pay for equal work? A minimum wage that can support an average family without requiring a 2nd job? A SMART, diverse, competent workforce contributing value to purpose-driven work? What do you imagine?