Will you be off work on July 4, 5, or 6? Thank a union!

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is such a beloved holiday. In addition to being a great way to celebrate everything that makes our country so special, it also gives many of us the chance to take a day off of work and simply enjoy time with our family and friends.

As you throw those burgers on the grill or head to your local parade or fireworks celebration, take a minute to consider this: without unions, you would not be able to enjoy this – or any other holiday. In fact, you wouldn’t even be able to count on weekends as days off.

Unions are the only organizations dedicated to the rights of workers. If you work, you should thank unions for some of the many privileges you have today. These benefits include: weekends off, lunch breaks, 40-hour work weeks, paid holidays, sick leave, family care leave, military leave, overtime pay, minimum wage, sexual harassment laws, and safe working environments.

Without unions, none of these benefits (and many others), would be available to workers. The reason why? Individual workers have very little leverage against large corporations. It is nearly impossible for a single worker to speak up to a factory owner and demand a safer work environment. It is only when many of the workers join together that their voices become strong and their issues get addressed.

Back in 1776 when our country decided it would no longer be subject to the rule of the British Empire, our only hope was to band together as one and fight for our rights as Americans. The unions continue to do just that today. As you wave your flag this week in honor of our country’s many traditions and victories, remember unions in your list of heroes for the American people. They fight for all of us.

About the author: Janmarie Toker is an attorney and partner at the workers’ rights law firm, McTeague Higbee. She can be reached at 207-725-5581 or at jtoker@mcteaguehigbee.com.

Maine at Work

About Maine at Work

Karen Bilodeau and Ben Grant are attorneys at the workers' rights law firm McTeague Higbee. With experience in both state and federal courts including national litigation, they have particular prominence in labor and employment litigation, workers' compensation, and construction accidents. They use this blog to educate Mainers about their workers' and individual rights in a number of different legal matters. For more information, go to www.mcteaguehigbee.com.