As You Celebrate Labor Day - Remember WCTU's Support for Better Working Conditions
Under the leadership of Frances E. Willard, the WCTU became one of the largest and most influential women's groups of the 19th century by expanding WCTU's platform to campaign for labor laws under Willard's "Do Everything Policy" which supported broad social reforms.
We often take for granted many of the labor reforms the WCTU promoted, such as, equal pay for equal work, the eight-hour work day, and the protection of women and children in the workplace.
In her address before the Second Biennial Convention of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Twentieth Annual Convention of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Frances Willard defended her Do Everything Policy by saying, "Let us not be disconcerted, but stand bravely by that blessed trinity of movements, Prohibition, Woman's Liberation and Labor's uplift."
One example is Resolution of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union from Doyon, North Dakota to the Senate favoring an Amendment to the Child Labor Law; 12/1924. This is from the Records of the U.S. Senate National Archives Identifier: 1907703
On September 3, 2021, United States President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. issued a Proclamation on Labor Day, 2021, which read, in part, "... a job is about much more than a paycheck. It is about dignity, respect, and your place in the community."..."Over the years, the Labor Movement has won many battles: establishing the 40-hour work week, integrating workplaces, eliminating child labor, securing health and safety protections for workers, and countless other victories."
As we celebrate Labor Day, may we remember and be thankful for the historic progress trailblazers made as we continue to work for a better life for families.