Change Has Come to the Workplace

(The following post is part of our Taking Back Labor Day blog series. Many people view Labor Day as just another day off from work, the end of summer, or a fine day for a barbecue. We think that it’s a holiday with a rich history, and an excellent occasion to examine what workers, and workers rights activism, means to this country. Our Taking Back Labor Day posts in September will do that, from a variety of perspectives, and we hope you’ll tune in and join the discussion!)

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At Workplace Fairness, Labor Day isn’t just another day off from work or the last day of summer. And while this former Kansas City resident has nothing against barbecues, the day is much more than one of the last chances of the season to grill outdoors with family and friends. We think that Labor Day is a holiday with a rich history, and an excellent occasion to examine what workers, and workers rights activism, means to this country. In commemoration of Labor Day, we’re excited to launch two new website features, our “Taking Back Labor Day” blog carnival, and our 2009 Labor Day Report, Change Has Come to the Workplace.

Throughout September, Today’s Workplace will be hosting our second annual “Taking Back Labor Day” blog carnival. Our guest bloggers, who will include many of the leading thinkers on labor and employment issues, will focus on why the labor movement is still important and address some of the most critical issues affecting workers today. We are also inviting YOU to participate: either by preparing a blog post for submission, or by making comments and using “Taking Back Labor Day” as an opportunity to have a real conversation about the future of the American workplace. Tune in every weekday in September at www.todaysworkplace.org to see the latest “Taking Back Labor Day” post, and join right in!

It’s also time for a look back at the previous year in the workplace, and we do so in our 2009 Labor Day Report, “Change Has Come to the Workplace.” In the past year, there was no more important development affecting the workplace than the election of President Barack Obama. After eight years of an Administration that could generally be characterized as hostile to workers’ rights and more interested in promoting business interests than ensuring employees were protected, the election of a more worker-friendly president has the potential to bring about significant change. In Change Has Come to the Workplace, by legal intern Hannah Goitein (The George Washington University Law School Class of 2011), we highlight the changes we have already seen in the last several months, as well as talk about what is on the horizon.

We hope these two new website features provide much interesting food for thought for you on this Labor Day weekend, while you’re enjoying that barbecue or last dip in the pool, or getting your children ready to start school on Tuesday. Have a great Labor Day weekend, but don’t forget who makes it possible – the American worker.

About the Author: Paula Brantner is Executive Director of Workplace Fairness, after serving as its Program Director from 2003 to 2007, writing legal content for the Webby-nominated site www.workplacefairness.org. Most recently, Paula was the Program Director for Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, and the Working America Education Fund. From 1997-2001, she was the senior staff attorney at the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), heading NELA’s amicus, legislative/policy, and judicial nominations programs. An employment lawyer for over 16 years, Brantner has degrees from UC-Hastings College of the Law and Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.