As North Americans look forward to a long weekend of shopping and barbecuing – many forget the reason this holiday was founded. For most people it just marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year. At tonlé – we support and uphold the principals of labor day both for American workers and those abroad as well.
The early founders of labor day sought a means of unifying workers and a reduction of labor time. In the late 1800’s, it was common for manufacturing workers to spend 70 hours a week on the job. Long hours prompted union organizers to fight for the 8 hour work day. Eventually they won this fight and were able to have labor day commemorated in the United States as a day to “honor the contributions and resilience of working Americans.” (Barak Obama) Internationally, labor day is celebrated on May 1st with similar intentions.*
However, many workers in the United States still do not get this day off, and internationally, working conditions in many of the factories producing goods made for sale in the US do not meet the standards that US factories workers have gained.
If shopping is your labor day tradition, we encourage you to keep in mind the rights of the workers who produced the products you are buying – and whenever possible – support companies who champion the rights of their workers.
*Our team in the US will be off on Labor day, and our Cambodian team respects International labor day on May 1st with a day off as well.