Labor Day is meant to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers and the rise of organized labor. It’s about employment laws that govern and protect the working conditions and rights of workers in the United States.
After a lifetime of hard work, shouldn’t a worker be able to retire on a reasonable pension that protects the worker’s existing lifestyle, not drive them to appeal for welfare? The way things are structured right now, this security isn’t afforded to non-employees whose rights need to be carefully considered and protected by the powers that be by suitably modifying the employment law.
As workplaces change the way they classify employees and structure the employer-employee relationship, the onus of making corresponding changes to the employment laws lies squarely on the shoulders of the Department of Labor (DOL) and the policymakers at the helm. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is also there to see that the number of unionized workers goes up from 8%, and to ensure that the workers assert workers’ rights and take a proactive role in their future through protected collective bargaining efforts.
All workers are generally protected by the same rights and privileges and none can make any distinctions. Employers need to adhere to employment law and government regulations regarding classification, compensation, safety and worker rights if they want to avoid fines and penalties.
Some policy loopholes still create problems and these become burning issues that need to be addressed to protect employees as well as non-employees:
Employers are slowly but surely being made to understand the benefits of empowering their employees to build successful, profitable businesses founded on middle-class jobs, and to offer minimum wages and sick leave and parental leave.
So far, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and several cities have passed paid family and medical leave or earned sick days laws. Moreover, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly showcases the advantages in being unionized by tracking the median weekly earnings of union members against that of non-union workers and finds that it’s at least $200 more, which isn’t chump change by any standards!
So Labor Day is more than just another day off for Americans. If you’re a contingent worker or work with contingent workers, perhaps you can dedicate part of this day to thinking about how to improve workers’ rights. Let us know your thoughts!
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