We’re headed into the weekend wondering whether the conditions that gave rise to a stronger labor movement and Labor Day itself are coalescing again. 12-14 hour work days, 6 and 7 day work weeks, unsafe and unregulated work environments especially for men, women, the poor, the uneducated, and immigrants (read: most people).
And we want to make the point, *strongly*, that we believe that Wyoming's gender wage gap (among the largest/worst in the country) and Wyoming's worker death rate (among the highest/worst in the country) are the flip side of the same coin. They are the ways in which our lack of regard for our workers manifest for women and for men. Put simply: We don't value our workers. And, until we do, our state might continue to founder in a boom and bust cycle, with busts taking up a disproportionate share of that equation.
So we’re reflecting on what it is that labor accomplished for all of us, starting back in the 1860s, with the infamous Haymarket Riot, and up until today. Here are a few other key dates of the labor movement.
According to the NYT, “American workers held the first Labor Day parade, marching from New York’s City Hall to a giant picnic at an uptown park on Sept. 5, 1882 … Many of the attendees risked their jobs by participating in the one-day strike. On their signs, they called for “Less Work and More Pay,” an eight-hour workday and a prohibition on the use of convict labor. They were met with cheers.”
June 28, 1894: President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law declaring Labor Day a national holiday.
1938: Political pressure continues to mount. On June 25, Congress passes the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limits the workweek to 44 hours, or 8.8 hours per day.
1940: On June 26, Congress amends the Fair Labor Standards Act, further limiting the workweek to 40 hours. A few months later, on October 24, the law goes into effect.
We believe that Wyoming's people are Wyoming's greatest asset. We believe that it is possible to escape the boom and bust cycle by investing in 100% of Wyoming's citizens; that, in doing, so the entrepreneurial spirit and power of our people can be and will be unleashed.
We believe that our state is great because our people are great.
So we're heading into this Labor Day Weekend ready to rest and be renewed so that we can step into September ready to work for change for the benefit of everyone in the Equality State.
We hope you'll join us.