My KUTX: Songs About Work To Celebrate Labor Day

(l to r): Ed Sills, Rick Levy, Madison White. Karina Lujan/KUTX.

Songs About Work To Celebrate Labor Day

My KUTX // September 3, 2022

Labor Day–and with it, weekends–wouldn’t be possible without the American labor movement. The first Labor Day parade was thrown in New York in September 1882 as a way to recognize the work and contribution of laborers from across the economic spectrum. America also has a long tradition of music celebrating labor and calling attention to crises. Folk singers like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger come to mind, but the tradition continues today through the music of Run The Jewels and Rage Against The Machine.

This week on My KUTX, Ed Sills, Madison White, and Rick Levy are the guest DJs. They work at Texas AFL-CIO, a state federation of labor unions representing 235,000 members in Texas that advocates for working people in the political and legislative arenas. The trio plays an hour of songs about work to celebrate Labor Day on September 5. They also talk about the stories behind the songs, including Beyoncé’s work-focused anthem, the music that came out of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers movement, and the laborer that inspired Donna Summer to write a disco classic. Hear My KUTX on Saturday, September 3 at 6 p.m. or listen anytime at the top of the page.


  1. Linqua Franqa – “Wurk”
  2. Dolly Parton – “9 To 5”
  3. Bruce Springsteen – “Night”
  4. Los Lobos and Friends – “Huelga En General”
  5. ‘Newsies’ Original Broadway Cast – “The World Will Know”
  6. Donna Summer – “She Works Hard For The Money”
  7. Kenny Winfree – “I’m A Union Card”
  8. Sweet Honey In The Rock – “More Than A Paycheck”
  9. Dave Alvin – “Gary, Indiana 1959”
  10. The Beatles – “A Hard Day’s Night”
  11. Beyoncé – “Break My Soul”
  12. Tom Morello – “This Land Is Your Land”

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