So, it’s Labor Day! That means a lot of things to different people, depending on your situation.
For most, it’s a day off work. For some, it’s the day before school starts. It can symbolize the end of summer. The beginning of autumn. Football season. The end of baseball season. So many things.
But it can also just be a day to be thankful. Thankful to the labor unions who worked so hard to make this country great for so many years. Most of those unions no longer exist, and whether you think that is a good or a bad thing, it’s just how it is. But they gave us a lot.
They gave us the 40 hour work week. Before the unions, there was no real set work week. Laborers could be forced to work 70-80 or more hours in grueling conditions with little to no break time for food, water, or bathroom breaks. There may not even have been bathroom facilities, lunch rooms, let’s just say that conditions in many factories were less than humane.
The unions made it so children wouldn’t be exploited and be forced to work, but would instead be expected to finish school. We don’t live in third world conditions anymore, and we have unions to thank for a lot of that. Back 100 years ago, it wasn’t unheard of for a child of 10 to be forced to work in very difficult conditions for 40-60 hours a week, for very little pay, just to help feed their younger siblings. Thank goodness my children never had to endure that!
I’m not saying that things are necessarily perfect, because they aren’t. People are exploited all over. Children are being forced to work in sweat shops in other countries. The world is not perfect. But for the majority of us here in the US, we can thank the labor unions for Labor Day. We can thank them for the cars we drive. For the food we eat. For the holidays and vacations we are afforded every year. Even stay-cations…. those are pretty neat too!.
I’m enjoying my extra day off by spending the time with my husband. He works very hard every week to support our little family by driving across the country delivering whatever freight he is hauling. He helps move the country. He deserves today off! His industry isn’t perfect either, but they work hard to keep the country moving. I thank them. You should too.
I thank our grandparents and parents who worked so hard to make this country what it is. My grandfather worked hard his whole life to make his little family able to afford things like a great house, food, clothing, even the treasured piano that proudly sits in my living room. He knew what labor meant. He did it every day. Thanks, Gramps. My hat’s off to you and all those amazing workers. We owe you everything.