Monday, September 3, 2012

This Labor Day, Remember How far We Have Come

At the time of this posting, Labor Day 2012 is nearly over.  But as your barbecue, family vacation, day of laziness or other chosen method of celebration winds down, I encourage you to remember what Labor Day is really about...

Most of you probably work an eight hour day.  If you work more than that, you are more than likely compensated in some manner, whether it be a higher salary, more pay for the extra hours, or some other sort of perk that you deem worth it.  Saturdays and Sundays are your days off, most likely and you enjoy the weekends with your family and/or friends.

Speaking of family, they don't have to worry as much as they would have many years ago because your workplace is likely much safer.  Also, God forbid you should die in a horrific accident at work, your death will not simply be chalked up to another  unfortunate loss.  Plus, if you have children, you do not have to worry about how their day at the factory went because of our country's chid labor laws.

A lot of the work practices we take for granted these days were not always commonplace.  People spent all their waking hours (and even some when they should have been sleeping) laboring away.  Pay was less fair and work conditions less clean and more dangerous.  Kids had to go out and start bringing in paychecks as soon as they were able.  People got in a lot of trouble and even lost their lives fighting to make these benefits possible for the average working person in this country and many people around the world do not see these rights as a possibility.

I happen to be a Union worker.  I know that carries a negative connotation amongst some circles, but I assure you I do not send my entire day standing around staring at the work that needs to be done...usually.  I kid.  To be perfectly honest, I end up with the occasional opportunity to check my email or complete a level of Plants vs. Zombies on my iPhone during my shift, but that has more to do with the time of day that I am working and the nature of my job in general than it does the fact that I am part of a union.  I am proud of the job that I do and I am proud that I am in a union.

I encourage you all to remember these things on Labor Day.  Remember that no matter how much your job sucks on the average day, had it not been for the men and women behind such labor struggles who sacrificed a great deal for the rest of their coworkers, it could suck a whole lot more.

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