Labor Day: Demonstrating Our Spirit and Strength

Published: September 5, 2016

First_United_States_Labor_Day_Parade,_September_5,_1882_in_New_York_City

1882 Labor Day Parade in NYC

The New York City Central Labor Union held the first Labor Day on September 5, 1882—exactly 134 years before this year’s holiday. Then as now, it is a day for enjoyment and for reflection, for remembering the struggles of the past and recommitting to our own work of today and tomorrow.

The power of organized Labor—of the millions of men, women, and families who unite to win respect in the workplace—is never more visible than in these national elections. We have a long history of effective political action, but now it’s time to raise the bar.

After decades of anti-union greed and assault by radical conservatives, our issues–workers’ issues—are once again at the forefront of our national agenda. We have a bipartisan group of candidates—for President, Senate, Governor, and other offices—who openly support unions and union jobs. We should return that support with boots on the ground and with every vote we can deliver.

In 1882, those first Labor Day planners called for a parade and festivities. What stands out is their stated goal: to demonstrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”

Election season is our time to recommit to fully and clearly demonstrating our strength and union spirit.

From September 5 to November 8, each of us should commit to applying the collective power of 202,000 SMART households. We should put in our time, our energy, and our ballots—along with millions of other union families across America—to support those who support workers, our issues, and our rights.

Let us celebrate Labor Day 2016 in the best possible way: by raising the bar on our efforts to elect candidates who support working-family values—union values.

Joseph Sellers, Jr.
General President