Since the 1890s, the United States has set aside the first Monday in September as Labor Day. It’s meant to be “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” according to the Labor Department. But in recent years, the day has been as much an occasion to reflect on how the labor movement and American workers have lost ground as a time for celebration.

Unions do have some grounds for cheer this year—a burgeoning movement of low-wage workers and their advocates that is moving towards a substantial increase in the minimum wage, new laws protecting long-ignored groups of workers, such as domestic and home care workers, and an interest in unions among young workers.

But actual organizing of workers into collective bargaining units with contracts has not kept pace with the growth of the private sector workforce. And it has become painfully obvious that as unions represent a smaller share of the workers in a region or industry, their members have less power and, with less power, they have a harder time bargaining for higher wages and other improvements.
Strong Unions Help All Workers—Not Just Union Workers - Working In These Times