Today we may look at Labour Day as simply a well-deserved day off, but this annual holiday was born out of a fervent battle for more justice for workers. If most of us work 40 hours over a five-day workweek, it is thanks to 19th century labourers who fought for reduced working hours. Women?s right to work and paid vacation time was also made possible by thousands of individuals who fought for these rights during the 20th century.
So what does the 21st century have in store for workers? There are many challenges that still must be overcome to achieve equity and fairness in the workplace. And it is with these unresolved issues in mind that we should celebrate Labour Day.
We?ve come a long way over the years when it comes to the treatment of workers, but salary gaps and discrimination continue to be a sad reality in today?s work environments. High unemployment rates in some areas, work-related accidents and burn-out are other issues that still need to be resolved. Some may say that life will never be perfect, but workers in the 19th and 20th centuries certainly didn?t let that argument stop them from improving their working conditions. Why should we?
The world is in constant evolution and the labour market must keep up with the changes that are going on around us, such as globalization, the large number of baby boomers on the verge of retiring and family responsibilities. These issues require us to adapt both as individuals and as a collective society. The standards that we put in place now won?t just affect today?s workers, but those of future generations as well. What kind of society will we leave behind for our children? That?s the question we need to ask ourselves this Labour Day.