Here’s to the workers out there. The laborers. The ones who work through the night when the storms hit. Those who raise the flags early in the morning. The workers who take out the trash, sweep the floors, or labor outside in the sweltering heat.
Here’s to Labor Day, and the reasons behind it. While there are several different versions on how the day came to be made official, it is generally accepted that in New York in 1882, 10,000 works came together for a parade, and then headed out from Union Square for a picnic and speeches. It began as a day when the Central Labor Union came together to honor the workers who were making changes in the American workforce. Just 11 years later, more than half of the states were celebrating a Labor Day in one way or another. The day was started by labor unions honoring those who made the achievements of American companies possible – those working day in and day out to bring U.S. products to the world and build a strong economy.
Businesses today have benefitted from the gains made by labor unions in the past – despite the grumbling of many in management – and even some of the workers who are recipients of the benefits. A steady workforce, educated, knowledgeable and healthy because of benefits demanded by labor unions and provided by employers means American workers are efficient and well-trained. Sure, there are problems and conflicts today between labor unions and employers. But the days of 70-hour workweeks, 12-year-old children working a full work week, and dangerous jobs without safety controls are a thing of the past. The economy today is fairly strong and we have a higher standard of living today than almost anywhere in the world.
And laborers should be honored for all they do for this country.
Those not working on Labor Day should remember what the day is truly about, and say thanks to all those around who work full-time, give of their time for their children and their elders, volunteer in organizations, and still keep the economy going.