Happy Labor Day

Two thoughts:

1) A friend of mine from law school, Nathan Newman, marked Labor Day last year with a set of observations on the state of unions. He notes that the “actual number of workers unionized has largely stabilized around 16 million members in the last decade,” and leaders have found “new ways to strengthen the freedom of workers to form unions without depending on [a now hostile] NLRB.”

2) For workers generally, Labor Day can be a day of rest & recreation. Anticipating its arrival, Krista Tippett’s “Speaking of Faith” program interviewed the founder of the National Institute for Play. He said that people can really wear down and experience a great deal of stress without play/leisure. . . a point understood by John Finnis in his Natural Law and Natural Rights, which calls play one of the seven intrinsically valuable basic goods. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Laborem Exercens applies the theory:

[There is a] right to rest. In the first place this involves a regular weekly rest comprising at least Sunday, and also a longer period of rest, namely the holiday or vacation taken once a year or possibly in several shorter periods during the year.

Wise words from a document with a number of insights on the nature of work and the rights of workers in today’s society.

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