|a blogger and his mom|
Monday, September 3, 2012
Summer's over. That's the bittersweet meaning most people put to this legal holiday. The confused part comes from the word "Labor." Beyond the oxymoron of a day off to celebrate work, many still associate the day with unions, when the focus is much broader: the work and workers that are the engine that powers our economy.
The U.S. Department of Labor tells us that Labor Day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” The DOL doesn’t tell us that Labor Day was rushed through Congress by President Grover Cleveland to appease America’s labor movement a mere six days after his controversial use of federal troops forcibly ended the bloody Pullman strike that paralyzed rail traffic, and thus the country, during the summer of 1894.
Cleveland’s gesture didn’t work for him—his Democratic party was slaughtered in the 1894 midterm election—or help the labor movement that much either. Many needed reforms, such as reasonable working hours and safe working conditions, now taken for granted, would not be enacted for decades--decades that would include the infamous Triangle Factory fire and Colorado’s own Ludlow Massacre.
The Labor Day holiday illustrates that while the pace can be slow our country does eventually do what needs to be done. Election-year finger pointing aside, what if, instead, we focused on the changes We the People can create without the politicians?
There are over 30 million human-owned businesses in our America. If only five percent of us (that 5% includes you and me, right?) committed to hiring at least one new employee before New Year’s Eve, together we’ve created at least 1,500,000 new jobs. All those new jobs means more business for all of us. Then maybe the politicos and the rest of the country will get the message and follow along.
So enjoy a day off, and then get back to the labors that made America great.
I close with my traditional photographic farewell to summer.
Posted by Jim Thomas at 8:03 AM