Labor Day
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The Los Angeles Times, in reporting on recent organized labor wins, recently coined the phrase “Hot Labor Summer.” Here at PEF, we certainly agree! 

PEF’s big win this summer, of course, was ratifying the 2023-2026 PS&T Contract, which contains more than $1 billion in “new money” for members and no major givebacks, a testament to the importance of the work our members do every day for the people of New York.  

From annual 3% base salary increases to the new Higher Education Differential and dental stipend, PEF showed the power of the labor movement at the bargaining table and what we can achieve when we come together. 

Elsewhere in the U.S., Hot Labor Summer meant safer working conditions for 340,000 UPS workers, and an ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America and the SAG-AFTRA union, as well as continued organized labor actions at Starbucks and Amazon.

Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late 19th century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. 

Union leaders were at the forefront of creating Labor Day in 1882.  

There is some debate about who founded the holiday, with some looking to Peter J. McGuire, the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, and others to Matthew Maguire, who was serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. 

Regardless of the who, the day came about because of the deplorable working conditions of the late 1800s during the height of the Industrial Revolution, when the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, and children as young as 5 or 6 were put to work in mills, factories, and even mines for little pay. 

On Labor Day, remember what unions gave us – the 8-hour workday, weekends (for many of us!), safety in the workplace, equality for workers, and, of course, increased wages.

PEF wishes every member a very happy Labor Day!