R4E130823 – Labor Day and Labor Unions (Special Days Study Lesson) by Douglas Jacoby
1 Labor Day History organization and Christians
2 Labor Manifesto of Worker Responsibilities
- Labor Day grew out of the European labor movement.
- Mid-19th century working conditions were poor, esp. for those in the industrial sector.
- The first US Labor Day was commemorated in Chicago in 1882.
- This was made a national holiday only in 1894. The special day was a way to give a voice to labor, to release steam.
- Note: May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 nations. In the US, the September date took the place of the May date (which was associated with unrest and revolution).
Labor Day and Christians
- Questions we may be asking:
- Should workers organize?
- Is it appropriate for a Christian to be a member of a union?
- Is it appropriate for a Christian to strike?
- Christians need to remember that the greatest good is not economic, and that Christ did not insist on his rights. Before aligning oneself with any labor movement (or union), we should make sure our attitudes are correct.
- Questions we should be asking:
- Am I serving my employer with all my heart—as serving Christ?
- Are we putting out ultimate hope in economics?
- Do I speak ill of my employers, of authority figures?
- Am I demanding my rights – possibly with the law and the power of the courts backing me up – in violation of the principle of 1 Corinthians 6?
- Am I engaged in fruitful labor for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 1:21-22)?
- We almost need a manifesto in the opposite direction—not so much to secure worker rights as to ensure that the workers will really work! And this is all the more the case if we’re disciples of Christ!
Manifesto of worker responsibilities
- I will not shortchange my employer by arriving late or leaving early.
- I will not stretch the lunch “hour.”
- I will maintain a good energy level (health, exercise, hydration, positive thoughts).
- I will not complaining (only offer constructive feedback, when the time is right).
- I will pray before arriving at work, to be in the best frame of mind possible.
- I will work hard! Christ is my true “employer” (Colossians 3:23).
- I will always remember that in the workplace I am representing Christ.