11:10 AM Eastern - Friday, September 4, 2009

Honoring the Worker: What are you doing this Labor Day?

FirstLaborDayparade.jpgOn Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Despite the threat of losing their jobs, participants took an unpaid day off to honor American workers and draw attention to grievances they had with employers.

And the list of grievances was long. During this time, the average American worked twelve hour days, seven days a week, just to make a basic living, with children as young as six toiling alongside adults.

As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later. A bloody strike by railway workers brought the issue of workers' rights to the public eye and provoked Congress to officially make the first Monday of September Labor Day.

Union_Labor_vsm.jpgToday, it's not uncommon to hear the phrase "Unions: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend." And the saying is true: unions won the eight-hour day standard we all enjoy today. What many people don't realize is that workers and their unions had to fight for the eight-hour day for nearly 3/4 of a century (beginning in August 1866) before any national reform was enacted. The dream of an eight-hour work day finally became a reality in 1938, when the New Deal's Fair Labor Standards Act made it legally a full day of work throughout the United States.

The Struggle Continues

Although many Americans have now come to associate Labor Day as just a day off from work or the end of summer relaxation, it's important not to forget the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters, whose brave acts earned us the working rights we now possess. Unions have historically laid the groundwork for impressive grassroots campaigns to strengthen America's middle class and rebuild the economy in hard times. As we face the greatest recession since the Great Depression, unions continue to be at the heart of efforts to pass healthcare reform, restore economic balance and bring prosperity to all Americans.

This Labor Day, let's remind members of Congress just how many working families are still struggling to make ends meet under the strain of skyrocketing health care costs. Help send Congress back to DC with a mission to reform healthcare by joining us at send-off rallies across the country.

Events being held by SEIU and HCAN across the country on Labor Day, September 7th in Arkansas, Colorado, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington state are listed after the break.

SEIU LABOR DAY EVENTS
*If you have a Labor Day event you'd like added to the list, please let us know*

Philly: Send Them Back to Congress
Monday, September 7, 9:00 AM
Sheetmetal Workers Hall (Philadelphia, PA)
Send Reps. Altmire and Doyle back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Rapid City, SD: Get Back to Work March at the Labor Day Parade
Monday, September 7 9:00 AM
Parade Route (Rapid City, SD)
Send Sen. Johnson and Rep. Herseth-Sandline back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Pittsburgh: Send Them Back to Congress
Monday, September 7 10:00 AM
Mellon Arena (Pittsburgh, PA)
Send Reps. Fattah, Brady and Murphy back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Boston: Send Them Back to Congress
Monday, September 7 11:00 AM
Boston Common (Boston, MA)
Send Sen. Kerry and Rep. Tsongas back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Labor Day Health Care Picnic and Fish Fry
Monday, September 7 11:00 AM
Texarcana County Fairgrounds (Texarkana, AR)
Send Rep. Ross back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Cincinnati: Send Them Back to Congress
Monday, September 7 11:00 AM
Coney Island Amusement Park (Cincinnati, OH)
Join the AFL-CIO for a Labor Day picnic and rally in support of health care reform. Please note that this is a ticketed event and...
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Montana: Bring It Home Rally
Monday, September 7 11:30 AM
Four Seasons Arena (Great Falls, MT)
Send Sens. Baucus and Tester back to Congress to pass health care reform
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Manchester, NH: Labor Day Breakfast & Health Care Rally
Monday, September 7 12:00 PM
St George Orthodox Cathedral (Manchester, NH)
Send Reps. Hodes and Shea-Porter as well as Sen. Shaheen back to Congress to pass health care reform. Time TBA
Send Them Back to Congress
RSVP »
Details »

Labor Day With No Healthcare is No Day at the Beach: Healthy Works Fair + Film + Action
Los Angeles, CA, September 7 - 9:30 AM Press conference kick-off w/ Congresswoman Judy Chu
Movie Showings of Michael Moore's Sicko: 10 AM, 12:30 PM, and 3:00 PM
RSVP for tickets via email »
Details and Directions »

Buffalo Labor Day Parade & Cazenovia Park Picnic
Monday, September 7 at 11:00 AM in Buffalo, New York
For more information, email David Stowell
Directions »

HCAN EVENTS FOR LABOR DAY

Health Care Now Rally
Monday, September 7, 8:00 AM
St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Manchester, NH)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Health Care Can't Wait Rally
Monday, September 7, 9:30 AM
East Ave & Alexander Avenue (Rochester, NY)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »
You can also meet at the 1199SEIU Hall on Broad St. at 9:00 am for 11 AM parade -- Email David Palmer if you'd like to participate.

Volusians For Health!
Monday, September 7, 10:00 AM
De Land City Hall (Deland, FL)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Reading Labor Day Parade
Monday, September 7 10:00 AM
Labor Day Parade in support of healthcare reform (Reading, PA)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Health Care Can't Wait Rally
Monday, September 7 11:00 AM
Governors Mansion (Little Rock, AR)
Health Care Can't Wait Rally
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Marquette County Labor Day Parade and Picnic at Lake Bancroft Park
Monday, September 7 11:00 AM
Lake Bancroft Park (Ishpeming, MI)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Rep. Polis Town Hall in Louisville
Monday, September 7 12:00 PM
Louisville Labor Day Fall Festival Community Park (Louisville, CO)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Congressman Chris Carney Town Hall
Monday, September 7 12:00 PM
Northumberland County Courthouse. (Sunbury, PA)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

LET'S GET IT DONE RALLY! - Sioux Falls
Monday, September 7, 1:00 PM
ELMWOOD PARK (Sioux Falls, SD)
LABOR DAY BBQ AND HEALTH CARE RALLY
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Winning Health Insurance is No Picnic (Let's Get It Done)
Monday, September 7 1:00 PM
Wright Park (Tacoma, WA)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Winning Health Insurance is No Picnic (Let's Get It Done)
Monday, September 7 1:00 PM
Stan Hedwall Park (Chehalis, WA)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

Rep. Polis Town Hall in Boulder
Monday, September 7 2:00 PM
Boulder Creek Hometown Fair (Boulder, CO)
Let's Get It Done
RSVP »
Details »

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