Labor Day is always special to me. It’s a time of reflection and remembrance. This year’s occurrence is no different as I reflect on the hard work and sacrifice that so many hard working men and women have done to build our nation. And, remembrance of the union Teamster (my father) who taught me the values behind those words each and every day that he was alive.
Our country’s greatest asset and economic strength doesn’t lie on a corporate pro forma or spreadsheet, but in our workforce. By providing the goods and services we need to build and move our economy forward, our American workforce continues to help lay the foundation for our country’s continued progress and advancement.
The challenge we face today and must continue to overcome is that the American worker is not reaping the benefits of their hard work. As income disparity grows along racial and socioeconomic lines, the concentration of economic prosperity in the hands of the few leaves many struggling to find their own economic security. Far too many people are working harder only to see a lack of correlation between their increased output and wage growth. While we should be mindful of this challenge constantly, Labor Day often serves as a reminder for all to honor and celebrate the achievements of our workforce and to reassert our commitment to ensuring that opportunity for every American worker still must be our goal.
Now, Labor Day means different things to many people but for me, it stands for something more special and profound. It means a recommitment to living up to the legacy of those who came before us in fighting for worker’s rights and better conditions. It means reaffirming the longstanding values of hard work and responsibility that have been the legacy of the American worker, while recognizing a new reality reflective of a changing economy and work landscape that still requires our grit and ingenuity to succeed.
Furthermore, it is about ensuring that our middle class remains the backbone of our economy and not just a vanishing ideal of yesteryear that we commiserate over a barbecue or cookout as the calendar changes from summer to fall. Our middle class has always been its strongest when organized labor has been at its best. We have made significant strides in the workplace. Yet the struggle continues. There are challenges by some bad actors that would roll back the protections we earned. We must not allow this to occur, and the first step is persistent vigilance for the working class.
So, as we adapt to all the changes and challenges of an ever evolving economy, we must never stray too far from the principle that whether in good economic times or bad, the American worker is not part of the problem, but part of the solution.
That’s my take. What’s yours?