Much has changed in the workforce since the labor movement of the late 19th century, and the Labor Day holiday has evolved to signify the end of summer, big sales and the beginning of the school year. We forget that it’s not just about family gatherings and pool parties; this is a day to celebrate the rights of the working people.
Prior to the first celebration in 1894, and at the height of the Industrial Revolution, Americans worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to earn income that barely covered expenses. In some states, children as young as 5 or 6 years old worked in factories, mills and mines, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages often faced unsafe working conditions, insufficient fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.
While today’s work environment is far superior than that of the 1800s, there is at least one thing that has not changed. Hiring managers still continue to seek passionate team members, those with a moral virtue of hard work and diligence, those with an unwavering work ethic. We work with employers every day who are committed to elevating their dedicated and loyal employees.
As Richard M. Nixon said in 1971, “The work ethic holds that labor is good in itself; that a man or woman becomes a better person by virtue of the act of working. America’s competitive spirit, the work ethic of this people, is alive and well.”
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While you enjoy your cold beverages and hot dogs on Labor Day weekend, remember that it is not just about the party. Labor Day is a time to recognize the achievements of more than a hundred years ago that set us up to have the many opportunities that now exist.
Thank your employees not just this Labor Day, but every day. The time they spend on your company’s mission is time spent away from their friends and family, from the most important things in their lives.
Thank you to my team at CareerSource Suncoast, who are my friends and family, who come in every day dedicated to our mission and the important work we do.
Ted Ehrlichman, president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast, writes about workforce issues across the region.