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September 1, 2011

Labor Day

by PBUnitedWay

Labor Day weekend is upon us. For many, Labor Day is just another day we get to take off work or school. It’s a day to relax, go to the beach and cook-out with family and friends. While Labor Day is certainly all of these things, most importantly, it is a celebration of worker’s rights and the triumphs that the US labor movement has gained over the last couple of centuries.

According to the Library of Congress, for many decades, Labor Day was viewed by workers not only as a means to celebrate their accomplishments, but also as a day to express their thoughts and opinions on their working conditions and discuss strategies for making them better. Under the current circumstances, with an unemployment rate of 11% in Palm Beach County, perhaps we should find a way to “air our grievances” and make change happen.

Unemployed individuals often feel severe economic strain and mental stress. They have little or no access to health care, as many individuals receive health insurance through their employer. On top of the unemployment rate, more than 12% of the population has an income at or below the federal poverty level, in spite of the fact that many are employed, some with two or more jobs.

But there’s hope. The Town of Palm Beach United Way believes in equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to get and keep a job that pays a living wage. In partnership with our 47 member agencies, and with the support of our volunteers and donors, together, we can provide opportunities such as:

  • Financial literacy programs that teach families how to budget, build savings and manage money
  • Affordable housing for seniors and families
  • Increased food distribution to families living at or below the poverty level
  • Resources that will aid in breaking the cycle of homelessness

No matter what your thoughts are on the labor movement, everyone has to work. It’s nice to sit back, take a moment, and remember that labor is the backbone of our economy and the heart of our nation. But while doing this, take a moment to remember that there are many right here in our community that are struggling to keep it together, and know that we can do something about it.

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