Labor Day

Happy Labor Day.

Just a reminder: you should be fairly compensated for your work.

If that work happens to be art, it doesn’t lessen its value to society, the value of your time and effort and training, your necessity for safety, or the time required for you to effectively rest and recover to get up and work again and have a life outside of that work.

You should not have to work for the joy of it alone, and no one should use that joy to take advantage of you and your work, especially if you are an artist, and that includes paying you poorly or asking you to work in unacceptable or unsafe conditions.

Happy Labor Day, with great thanks to the people who have gone before us in the movement that has so long fought for fair compensation, reasonable hours, and safety and health for workers.

Never forget that there are people who have died and given their quality of life working fervently to make sure we can have those things.

Never forget that unless we continue to fight to maintain and improve them, we won’t have them.

These kids don’t have a little brother working in the coal mine, they don’t have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that.

-Utah Phillips

Some reading that inspired me greatly today about those who have sacrificed so that we could be productive, healthy, and safe, and which I think everyone should know more about:

The Child Labor Photography of Lewis Hine

The Radium Girls

Frances Perkins

Utah Phillips