NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – This Labor Day weekend is a chance to recognize workers who help keep the country running, even during a pandemic.
Labor Day celebrations are traditionally marked with parades. The very first was held in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882 as a way to honor workers for their contributions to our country, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
That message still rings true today.
“The labor movement is more relevant right now in 2020 than it has been in decades,” said John Samuelsen, from the Transport Workers Union.
Samuelsen said while people take time off to enjoy family and friends, tens of thousands of people will be on the job.
“Just remember, that there are essential workers out there right now, whether they be in the transit industry or the airline industry, that keep America moving while we’re at home barbecuing and enjoying ourselves,” said Samuelsen.
Mario Cilento, president of the New York ALF-CIO said the unified voices of workers is what truly helps drive change.
“When we work together, when the labor movement is working with our employers, we can improve the lives of our members, but also non-union members,” said Cilento.
One of the things the labor movement is focused on is safety, whether it be inside or outside at construction sites, for example.
Many construction workers are represented by the Building and Construction Trades Council.
“Think about all the things we often take for granted, such as the five day work week, the eight hour day and many other social safety net programs that organized labor over the years really advocated for and brought to all people of this country,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
Okezi Collins, a construction worker from Queens, said the holiday is a chance to recharge.
“Enjoying family, taking time off, relax, reflect on the days that you’ve been working hard… just taking it easy,” said Collins.
Like the first Labor Day 138 years ago, it’s workers of all shapes of sizes who’ve kept things running, even through the most challenging of times.
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