While many of us are enjoying the day off from work for Labor Day, union members and representatives want you to remember why the holiday exists.
Labor Day was created in 1882 by a Labor Union in New York City as a way to honor the work its members did the all year. It officially became a federal holiday nationwide in 1894.
Ann Marie Taliercio, the president of the Central New York AFL-CIO, said the holiday has changed since then.
Its roots are the same — appreciating work and labor along with being thankful for the ability to do so. Rather than simply taking a long weekend, this year more than ever, she wants people to remember those principals.
"Workers want to do thier job," Taliercio said. "They want to earn a paycheck, but they also want to come home at night and sleep in their own bed. They don't want to be killed at work. This is just an extension of what we've been fighting for for many years. Safe workplaces."
In her eyes, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of labor unions. They fight for the rights of workers to have safe and equitable environments at their jobs, and as reopening continues, workplace safety is top of mind. She said every decision a union makes not only is fighting for the members of that union, but workers everywhere.
"Labor is very important, where once again, we not only represent our workers, our dues-paying members," she said. "We represent the community, which is not but working men and women. I guess that's what I want people to remember."
Taliercio said people should take a moment to think about the people who have been working on the frontlines, whether they are union members like teachers or simply people working each day, taking a second to be thankful for the work is what labor day is all about.