On this Labor Day, let’s talk turkey. While the holiday has come to signify the “end of summer,” it’s origination was “an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.” (Department of Labor)

Let’s look at how we’re doing on that social and economic achievement.

“CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978. Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time.” (Economic Policy Institute)

With the pandemic, there has been a greater focus on our low-wage workers. And it’s not always the best narrative. The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25, which has been stagnant since 2009. When you compare the minimum wage to your local Living Wage, you can see a wide gap. Here in Denver, the Living Wage is $17.40 for one adult, no children.

Right now, the workers hold more power. With the Great Resignation and “now hiring” signs are nearly every business, I am optimistic that we’ll see increased wages for low-wage workers. And that professionals will have more negotiating power on total compensation including salary, bonuses, and benefits.

Here’s what you can do to celebrate Labor Day.

1 – Learn something new.

Read an article on the Labor Movement, Labor Day.

2 – Advocate for yourself.

Create a career strategy for yourself and take action. Whether it’s prepping for your next performance review, negotiating better compensation, or exploring the job market and securing a new position.

3 – Sponsor others.

Start more money conversations with mentees, spend your money with businesses that have happy employees (there’s a good chance they are being taken care of with compensation, working conditions, and benefits), and participate with organizations that are fighting for better working conditions.

The Pledgettes focuses on abolishing the Gender Wealth Gap (essentially net worth), the Gender Pay (or Income) Gap is a big part of building wealth. And while some like to logic away from the income gaps by saying it’s about choices like women choosing lower-paying industries and jobs, or choosing to take “breaks” for caregiving, let’s learn the history and take an active role in improving the future so we can live in healthier and wealthier communities.

Workers, know your rights! The Department of Labor has a number of resources.