The U.S. first celebrated Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, almost a decade after labor unions across the country pushed for states to acknowledge and honor workers’ contributions to the country’s industrial strength. Today (September 4) marks the first Labor Day of a presidential administration whose leader, like the old business titans whose grandiose public images he tries to channel, repeatedly pursues paths that hurt working people—particularly people of color—while claiming to take their side.
Yet—despite nearly a years-worth of political attacks on workers’ autonomy and livelihoods—grassroots organizing movements continue to resist the administration’s agenda and stand up for those frozen out of the Horatio Alger myth. Unlike the labor movements of yore, which actively discriminated against communities of color, contemporary movements like Fight for $15 center racial justice and acknowledge racism’s intersection with class struggle while resisting political and economic threats that impact us all.
Whether you’re recognizing today by practicing self-care with loved ones or rallying in the streets to demand racial and economic justice, we invite you to look back on the past year in resistance and solidarity with the following Colorlines articles:
- "Stealing Labor" (September 5, 2016)
- "Nationwide Protests Mark Fourth Anniversary of #FightFor15" (November 29, 2016)
- "Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Opposes Minimum Wage Increases—And Workers Who Protest" (December 9, 2016)
- "What You Need to Know About R. Alexander Acosta, Trump’s New Labor Secretary Pick" (February 16, 2017)
- "Actor and Activist Danny Glover on Why He’s Marching With Black Nissan Workers" (March 30, 2017)
- "Activists, Advocates Plan ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ Strike for May 1" (March 30, 2017)
- "#MayDay Actions in 7 Scenes" (May 1, 2017)
"Fight for $15 Activists Call McDonald’s ‘The Trump of Corporations’" (May 24, 2017)
"WATCH: Kansas City Fast-Food Workers Share Stories of Struggle" (June 23, 2017)
"How the On-Demand Economy Enables the Cycle of Racial Labor Discrimination" (July 5, 2017)