In my house, Labor Day was always the last free day before school started, but it started as a way to honor the working people–and the unions–of America, back in the day when unions meant something.
For that reason, I was drawn to a Labor Day post by Tom Guarriello at Truetalk Blog, who wrote:
“My parents were both union members. My mother was a seamstress. She started working in the first of a long series of small manufacturing “shops” when she was 14, and immediately joined the ILGWU. When she died a few months short of her 89th birthday, she was still receiving retirement benefit checks.
My father was a Teamster. But, an odd one. My dad worked a lot of different kinds of jobs, but for the last 25 or so years of his life he worked in the cosmetics business, manufacturing cold creams, toilet water and other products for Charles of the Ritz and Estee Lauder. Those plants were Teamster shops, and eventually my dad was elected shop steward.
My mom finished the 8th grade; my dad, the 6th. They were the kinds of people Labor Day was established to commemorate: simple, hard-working.”
Here’s to all of us and the ways –good and bad–that work has changed in the past 50 years–and to everything we each contribute.