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Workers gather to celebrate the true meaning of Labor Day

The Tarrant County Central Labor Council hosted Labor Fest in Fort Worth, recognizing progress for American workers.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Labor Day is a time when many people gather and celebrate with family and friends, but there is a deeper history behind the holiday.

It dates back to the late 1800's when the organized labor movement began, according to the Department of Labor. Activists then pushed to recognize American workers. They fought for fair working conditions and made known the social and economic impact of laborers.

On Labor Day in Fort Worth, activists now continue the fight.

"Welcome. Happy Labor Day, union members and workers all over North Texas," said Tarrant County Central Labor Council President Brian Golden on stage at The Shack at Panther Island.

Unions of all trades and their members gathered for the annual Labor Fest.

He recognized several unions. For example, Golden said the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 540 is the reason that 800,000 workers have fully paid health insurance, pension benefits, and earn 31% more than non-union counterparts.

"If we stick together, good things happen as workers," said Tevita Uhatafe, an aircraft technician and the first vice president of the Tarrant County Central Labor Council. He said 40-hour work weeks, fair overtime and child labor laws are only some examples of what the labor movement has fought for.

Uhatafe said progress must continue, but he proudly shares how far labor rights have come. 

"Labor Day is about the workers like yourselves, many of us in our communities who hold onto the American Dream," said Uhatafe.

So as you eat, drink, dance or celebrate Labor Day, these workers want people to remember the meaning.

"Outside the civil rights movement and suffragette movement, the American labor movement and unions have been the most effective solid structure for progressive change in pressing for equality and equity in American society. So be proud of that," said Golden.

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