Labor Day, celebrated the first Monday in September, honors those who’ve fought for and helped secure fair conditions, wages and treatment for American workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894, making it one of the nation’s first.
Not all jobs have unions to protect workers’ interests, and not all positions allow a day off, but no matter your career, Labor Day is about you. It’s a day to be proud of your contributions and acknowledge the hard work of others. Start by taking a look at these images that represent the various kinds of work Americans do every day.
This worker demonstrates multitasking at its best. While wearing a mask to protect himself from Covid-19 and the sun, he ushers people across the street in a construction zone.
Kim Keller, Washington, D.C., 2021
Whenever farmworkers need it, the hay is ready. It’s primarily used to feed livestock, but bales can also be stacked to serve as wind protection for animals in colder seasons.
Doug Gritzmacher, Colorado, 2021
During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, medical staff at the Rutherford County Health Department in downtown Murfreesboro stand ready in their personal protection equipment to treat patients.
William Steber, Tennessee, 2020
Piano instructor Mrs. McBee sits comfortably as she assesses how a young student is progressing with her lessons. Cookie, the cat, may have some tips, too.
Kavita Karighattam, California, 2016
It was “bring your pet to work” day for this truck driver, who stopped at a gas station along the highway to check on his pet after a night on the road.
A B, Colorado, 2016
During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, a busy general contractor working in Brooklyn descends scaffolding long enough to be photographed—from a distance.
Patrick Cashin, New York, 2020
They say you don’t need a cape to be a hero. Sometimes a squeegee and a baseball cap will do, as this window washer found out. He brightened the day of a young hospital patient just by hanging out at work.
Kevin McIntosh, Wisconsin, 2019
This woodworker uses a drill press to craft useful items shaped like American states. With magnets installed inside, the hanging art can hold keys and other metal objects.
Ryan Noltemeyer, Kentucky, 2016
Several linemen work to restore power to Tybee Island after Hurricane Matthew landed, causing outages.
Michael Grafton, Georgia, 2016
An apitherapist manually harvests a honeybee stinger to treat a patient. The venom treats various medical conditions in humans.
Jake Eshelman, Texas, 2019
A customer checks out his reflection as a barber works to manicure his mane.
George McCann, New York, 2017
What do firefighters do when they’re not battling treacherous flames? These ones practice advancing hose lines, making sure they’re ready when needed.
Talbot Brooks, Mississippi, 2021
How many people have “astronaut rescue training” on their résumés? These pararescue jumpers and combat rescue officers practice retrieving astronauts from a SpaceX capsule.
Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy, Florida, 2021