What Has Labor Done for You?

Union workers sometimes demonstrate to get better treatment.
Union workers sometimes demonstrate to get better treatment.

Every September, students and workers celebrate Labor Day. The holiday was suggested by labor unions. These are groups of workers. They want companies to treat workers fairly.

You can thank unions for more than just Labor Day. How would you like to work for over ten hours a day in a factory? Labor unions helped end child labor. Young children used to work long hours in dangerous jobs. Unions fought against this. Congress passed a law to stop child labor.

Unions have accomplished many other things. Unions fought for weekends. They fought for shorter work days. Unions also made sure companies help workers when they get hurt. Many companies give workers health insurance [a plan that pays for medical costs if a person gets sick] because of unions.

Union workers make many sacrifices. If workers are not treated fairly, they may go on strike. This means they stop working. They do not get paid. Strikes can go on for a very long time. Sometimes they take years.

Unions also influence the government. They suggest laws to help workers. Union workers vote for leaders that promise to treat workers fairly.

Labor unions still help workers today. They try to make working safe. They also fight for fair pay. Many unions want everyone to make at least $15 an hour.

What Do You Think? What else can labor unions can do to help people?

Photo Credit: Susan See Photography