Dignity at Work - How Americans Experience Work

On the occasion of the ILO’s centenary commemoration in 2019, a series of personal stories on how American’s experience work was launched. The purpose was to hear what work meant to these people and to their families across the U.S. as well as their hope for a better future.

The project was given further focus by the inspiring “All Labor Has Dignity” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. which was delivered on 18 March 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, to sanitation workers who were on strike. The following part of his speech brought this project into sharp focus.

You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight, that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity, and it has worth."

Martin Luther King Jr.
  1. © ILO Photo/ Ronnie O'Neill 2023

    Opening a world of possibilities for young minds

    25 January 2023

    Bethany Ramseur, Spanish and AP Capstone Teacher, Hilton Head Preparatory School – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

  2. © ILO Photo/ Katherine Arntzen 2023

    Revealing the beauty that surrounds us everyday.

    11 January 2023

    Katherine Arntzen, Photographer - Savannah, Georgia

  3. © ILO Photos/ Kevin Cassidy 2023

    Working hard for my sisters' future

    04 January 2023

    Maria Fierro Trejo- Manager Meat and Seafood Department, Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store, Coligny Plaza, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

  4. Transforming lives through education

    23 August 2022

    Dr. Alex Akulli – Founding President of Mimoza Academy, President of the Fulbright Association in South Carolina, and President of Shining Applicants - Greenville, South Carolina

  5. © ILO Photo/ John Isaac 2023

    Keeping a watchful eye on near-earth objects

    15 August 2022

    Aren (Ari) Heinze, Astronomer and Professor University of Hawaii at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA), Honolulu, Hawaii

  6. © ILO Photos/ John Isaac 2023

    Cultural traditions’ indelible mark

    10 August 2022

    Keone Nunes, Traditional Tattoo Artist and Cultural Practitioner, Waianae, Hawaii

  7. © ILO Photos/ John Isaac 2023

    A unique journey to spiritual guidance

    03 August 2022

    Priestess Miriam Chamani (Mary Robinson Adams Williams), Founder, Voodoo Spiritual Temple, New Orleans, Louisiana

  8. © ILO Photos/ John Isaac 2023

    “Uncovering the impact on a changing world”

    25 July 2022

    Ken Rubin, Volcanologist, Geochemist, and Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hawaii Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

  9. © ILO Photos/ John Isaac 2023

    Making a splash in eco-tourism

    26 April 2022

    Brooke McKinley and Capt. Drew Vevea, Outer Island Excursions, Anacortes, Washington

  10. © ILO Photos/ John Isaac 2023

    Nourishing the soul with the sound of Aloha

    11 April 2022

    Joe Souza, Master Luthier & Co-owner of Kanile’a ‘Ukulele, Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii