Every year in September, the men and women who built this country and fought for better conditions and protections on behalf of all workers are remembered and celebrated.
Labor Day is more than just a long weekend, cooking out, and being with family and friends at the unofficial end of summer. It is a time to remember the accomplishments and battles of past workers.
Labor Day was first celebrated as a U.S. federal holiday in 1894. Although it was a federal holiday, there was still more work to be done to improve labor practices and conditions.
What caused the Labor Movement
The Labor Movement was sparked by inhumane working conditions and practices during the Industrial Revolution.
Poor and working-class people were forced to work 12-hour days, seven days per week, in mostly dangerous working conditions, with little to no training.
It became abundantly clear that working conditions and lack of quality training caused an uprising that eventually led to changes, including the 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and more.
Apprenticeships gain legitimacy
The construction industry hoped to improve unsafe workplace conditions by limiting inexperienced workers from job sites.
Despite the existence of apprenticeships, it was not until 1937 when legislation was passed to establish an apprenticeship system similar to what exists today. Today, registered apprenticeship programs go above and beyond to properly train apprentices in the classroom and on the job site in order to create a safe work environment for everyone.
The passage of the National Apprenticeship Act, otherwise known as the Fitzgerald Act, was enacted to establish registered apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs were then recognized by the federal government as legitimate and were mandated to follow a certain curriculum.
For almost a century, the concept of registered apprenticeship programs has remained the same. Apprentices learn a trade and how to work safely from their more experienced counterparts.
Today, apprenticeships are seen as a direct pathway to the middle class, creating an attainable life with better pay and benefits. Instead of taking on tens of thousands of dollars in student debt by going to college, apprentices earn a livable wage, allowing them to support themselves and their families from day one.
The sacrifices made by American workers are what led to the celebration and establishment of Labor Day as a national holiday. Eventually they sought more and were rewarded with the creation of registered apprenticeship programs.
Are you interested in a construction career through a registered apprenticeship program? Fill out the form below to receive information regarding these career building programs.