Today is Labor Day. For many Americans, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer. Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894.
In 1894, The American Railroad Union was led by Eugene V. Debs. The union called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars on June 26. Subsequently, railroad service was shut down nationally.
To end the Pullman strike, the federal government sent troops to Chicago, sparking a wave of rioting that killed over a dozen employees. In the aftermath of this widespread disturbance, and to mend relations with American workers, Congress approved legislation establishing Labor Day as a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. President Grover Cleveland signed it into law on June 28, 1894. However, the original creator of Labor Day has yet to be established more than a century later.
I am 23 years old, and my only paid work experience has been writing a magazine article for a nonprofit organization. However, many of my peers have worked for years. Beginning in my sophomore year of high school, many of my peers had their first jobs.
I wasn’t able to work during high school. I wanted to earn my own money and save for college. It has been hard to see people like my younger sibling working part-time. I should be able to find work, and it is frustrating that I can’t.
Sometimes, employers don’t want to hire me once they find out I have CP. I’ve had interviews rescinded after I disclosed my disability. I applied to work at Texas Roadhouse and Homewood Suites last year. The managers refused to interview me after I told them I have Cerebral Palsy.
There is, however, another barrier to employment that is not discussed enough. I require assistance with daily activities and hire PCAs to assist me with showering, toileting, and getting dressed, among other things. Employers always deny this accommodation. Workplaces are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. However, they are not obligated to assist with personal care needs.
Labor Day is a holiday honoring the contributions of American workers. Being unemployed has made me feel worthless at times. I currently receive disability benefits. However, I’ve learned that employment doesn’t measure my worth.
History.com Editors. “Labor Day 2023” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 Apr. 2010, http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1.
“Personal Assistance in the Workplace.” Job Accommodation Network, Job Accommodation Network, https://askjan.org/topics/persassist.cfm.