On this day in 1891, folklorist, anthropologist, and author Zora Neale Hurston was born. Hurston is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In her work for the Works Project Administration (WPA), she also documented songs and life histories of interesting, everyday people, including labor conditions. Discuss Hurston’s birthday by citing the values of Voice, Equality, and Community.
Tag: labor rights
Poverty Awareness Month
January is Poverty Awareness Month, when the Catholic community urges Americans to “take up Pope Francis’ challenge to live in solidarity with the poor.” Use this month to discuss poverty with your audiences and cite the values of community and economic opportunity.
“I Am a Man” Protest
On this day in 1968, African American sanitation workers went on strike in Memphis, Tennessee for better pay and safer working conditions. The strikers would create the iconic image with their “I Am a Man” posters. During the strike, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to Memphis, where he was assassinated. Discuss this anniversary by citing the values of voice, opportunity, and community.
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
On this day in 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which requires most employers to provide job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons to their employees. The law was an important step for worker rights but today advocates are pushing for paid family and medical leave for all workers. Cite the values of opportunity and equity when discussing this anniversary.
Black History Month
While Black History Month is officially commemorated during February, we honor Black history and celebrate Black excellence and futures year-round. This month — and into March — opportunities abound for telling an affirmative story about racial justice in the United States. Cite the values of voice and community in sharing these resources with your audiences.
Civilian Conservation Corps
On this day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work-relief program to combat unemployment. The corps provides a historic precedent for proposals like the Green New Deal. Use this anniversary to discuss the values of opportunity and community.
Today is labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez’s birthday (1927) and a state holiday in California. Discuss the ongoing issues faced by farmworkers and the importance of unions, citing the values of economic opportunity and community.
National Farmworker Awareness Week
The last seven days of March are National Farmworker Awareness Week. Since 1999, Student Action with Farmworkers has coordinated this week of action to “raise awareness about farmworker issues, honor their everyday contributions, and gain more allies to help advocate for better living and working conditions in the fields.” Farm work exposes workers to significant occupational hazards and has few federal labor protections such as overtime pay or unemployment insurance. Talk about farmworker rights citing the values of economic opportunity, equity, and community.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
On this day in 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan killed 146 immigrant garment workers (predominantly women). Use this anniversary to discuss the concerns of immigrant workers, particularly workplace safety. Cite the values of economic opportunity and community.
Eight Hour Act
On this day in 1917, the Supreme Court upheld the Eight Hour Act, the first federal law regulating the work hours of private companies. The law was passed by Congress after nationwide industrial strikes. Unions have also been instrumental in fighting for worker rights but fair scheduling and overtime are still issues for many Americans. Discuss this anniversary citing the values of community and economic opportunity.