The very idea of a weekend or paid time off is little more than a century old. Labor Day is a holiday that emerged from a moment of crisis, when Americans were working far too many hours, in unsafe conditions, and with few rights.
We now universally oppose having six-year-olds as employees and recognize that factory safety requires rest breaks. But we’re still letting too many people work without any protections.
Home attendants, nannies, and house cleaners still labor in an unregulated “Wild West” like those years in the late 1800s. They are not protected from harassment, not unionized, not provided a federal minimum wage, not given any guarantee of healthy and safe workplaces.
Yet it is their work that enables so many of us—teachers, lawyers, doctors, plumbers, senators, firemen, actors, and so on—to do our jobs. This Labor Day, we at Hand in Hand honor the labor that takes place in the home.
This quick way to support the historic legislation (just introduced this summer) would be the perfect way to thank our predecessors, who fought for our labor rights, by fighting for the next generation’s.