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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: August 31, 2016

The "Labor" Part of "Labor Day"

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,


It appears the first "Labor Day" was celebrated in 1882 in New York City, and was organized by union members. It became a U.S. national holiday in 1884. It is interesting to me that this day, set aside to honor those in the workforce, was started by union members. It really seems to me that the businesses large and small that benefit from their workforces would more appropriately have chosen to start the custom of paying honor to the people who make nearly all business possible. But they didn't, so thank you to the union member workers who took it upon themselves to give us this opportunity to reflect on the awesome workforce of the United States.

We hear a lot of campaign discussion about how awful our unemployment situation is, but when I took a step back and looked at current Bureau of Labor statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate in June of this year was 4.9 percent. Now I'll qualify my following comments with the knowledge there are probably some who have given up the search for work not represented in this statistic, and this statistic is still too high, and that many of the people who ARE employed are working part time and/or in very low wage jobs.

That said, the statistics say 95% of the defined workforce in the U.S. IS employed, and that's an enviable statistic to a whole lot of countries on the planet. The good news is often not highlighted; we tend to dwell endlessly on our opportunities as a country. Turn the statistic around, and feel a lot better about how fortunate U.S. citizens really are.

So, while I will wish that businesses would make a bigger deal of Labor Day as an opportunity to honor their workforces, I can't by myself make them do it. However, I CAN choose to honor some of those workers who make MY life better and so can you. Make this year a true Labor Day in honor of workers, and here's some ideas of how you, and I, can make that happen in a small way. Think global, but act local!

" Thank a law enforcement officer. They literally risk their lives for the rest of us, strangers they vow to protect. Starting law enforcement salaries are very low - and very few of us would agree to do what they do, for the pay they earn.

" With back to school upon us, thank a teacher. Thank a teacher who made a difference in your life; thank a teacher who guides your child; thank a teacher who is helping educate the children of today who will create the future of our country. As we age, we will depend on a highly skilled workforce to sustain this country for us old folks. Our teachers are an investment for anyone who plans to live out their life on U.S. soil. What job could possibly be more important? As a taxpayer, I am more than happy to support free, high quality public education, and well-compensated public school teachers.

" Have a family member or friend who depends on caregivers? Thank the nurses, nurse's aides, dietary staff, physical and occupational therapists, hospice workers, and the janitorial staff who make the life of our seniors healthier and happier. his job requires a 24/7 commitment from the staff, and takes the patience of saints. God bless them all. And if you don't have someone who needs this kind of care, you are blessed; but thank them anyway, because someday you MIGHT need them.

If you think about it for even five minutes, you will find an opportunity for YOU to make someone's Labor Day special. And if you are a business owner, manager or team leader, when was the last time you gave personal thanks to the people who make your business successful?

Have a safe Labor Day in the greatest country in the world.


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