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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Work carries on for some, not others during Labor Day at Notre Dame

Labor Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday of September and many workers across the country are given the day off. At Notre Dame, while administrative offices are closed, classes remain in session. 

“The University is obligated to conduct a specific number of academic instruction days during the academic year," University spokesperson Susan Ryan wrote in an email. "Based on other days that the University does not hold classes, such as Good Friday, Easter Monday, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, fall and spring breaks ... it is necessary to have classes on Labor Day while administrative offices are closed.”

In addition to having classes on Labor Day, many student employees will be working as well.

Sophomore Athena Iglesia, a student worker for Modern Market and the Lyons Hall mail room, said student employees should have the option to take Labor Day off.

“Labor Day celebrates the contributions of labor to the economy and the achievements of the U.S. A reward for this would be the day off,” Iglesia said. “At the same time, some people may need the hours to support themselves and their family, which is why I think working on Labor Day should be optional.” 

The Higgins Labor Program within the Center for Social Concerns focuses on research, education and community engagement around labor issues. HLP director Daniel Graff said it is important for employees to have Labor Day off.

“I'm glad that this is a day off for most staff, because Labor Day is a special holiday recognizing the importance of workers to our nation's economy," he wrote in an email. "It is a day we should all pause and reflect upon how to honor those who work for others in terms of pay, respect and opportunities for advancement."

Some Notre Dame employees don't have Labor Day off. Instead, the University makes an effort to support its employees through various programs and initiatives like NDWorks and the HLP, according to Ryan.

NDWorks is one of the University's sources for communicating campus news, information and events to faculty and staff. NDWorks also manages an email digest called "TheWeek@ND," which highlights various things happening around campus and is delivered through email every Sunday evening. There is both a faculty and student version of the digest. 

“NDWorks is one of the communication channels for the Office of Internal Communications, which provides campus information and news to faculty and staff members," Ryan wrote. "The internal communications team also uses campus-wide email, a print publication (NDWorks Quarterly) and a monthly podcast (NDWorks Podcast) to share news and stories by and for employees of the University."

Graff also pointed to prominent HLP initiatives like the Just Wage Initiative, the Labor Café and the Summer Labor Fellows Program, all of which aim to target different economic questions regarding labor issues. The first Labor Café of the new school year is this Friday at 5 p.m. in Geddes Hall’s McNeill Library. The event is titled “Hot Labor Summer” and will discuss the organizing and striking happening across the country right now.

In 2021, the Higgins Labor Program launched the Just Wage Framework, which aims to help people determine whether a particular wage is fair. The tool is available on the Higgins Labor Program’s website, and can be used by anyone.

“The Just Wage Framework is an online resource and tool that invites stakeholders of all kinds(workers, students, employers, unions, policymakers ... ) to ponder the question, ‘What makesany given wage just or unjust?’” Graff wrote.

The Higgins Labor Program and its events are available to all University staff members andstudents.