In my opinion, Labor Day is one of the most underrated of all American holidays. For one, it’s a day off work during a busy part of the year. Schools are starting up, summer vacations are ending, people are preparing for a stressful holiday season, and the tedium of winter looms ahead. It’s nice to have a day of relaxation and reflection amidst the chaos. But Labor Day is also an important celebration of one of America’s greatest assets: it’s strong, determined, and often underappreciated workforce.
There is no limit to the value that this country’s teachers, doctors, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, scholars, and scientists give to our everyday life. Without them, our children would be uneducated, our cities and homes would be devoid of culture, our technologies would be stagnant, and our futures would be bleak. But, it is important on Labor Day especially to consider the immense diversity of our American workforce. While we give thanks to the white collar professionals whose work and value is, perhaps, most visible to us, we should also consider the value of the less visible blue and pink collar workers who are equally integral to our progress and happiness as a nation.
In the landscaping business, we work primarily with blue collar workers. These men and women spend long, strenuous days gardening, pruning, mowing lawns, building hardscapes, and putting in irrigation systems so that our business can run smoothly and effectively. The dedication they have for their craft is astounding. The work ethic they put forth every day is truly inspiring. Still, blue collar work is often underestimated. The cashiers, waitresses, plumbers, janitors, mechanics, and landscapers of the world have been overlooked.
When Labor Day was created in 1894, it was a response to the concerns and mistreatment of blue collar workers. Many factory and railroad workers were treated horrendously by the companies that employed them. Their wages were minuscule, they worked long, grueling hours under dangerous conditions, and they were barred from unionizing. Together, workers went on strike to protest these inhumane conditions and were, eventually, able to make waves in congress, despite their lack of social power. It is because of these efforts that we can now enjoy 40 hour work weeks, weekends, paid time off, and overtime pay. Blue collar workers also made great strides improving safety regulations within the manual labor industry. Now, safety regulations are a must in every landscaping, manufacturing, or construction industry.
So, this Labor Day, consider all of America’s workforce. Take time to appreciate workers who are at the forefront of their industries, and those who are behind the scenes. This country would not exist without the dedication of its workforce. From fast food cashiers to fortune-500 CEOs, every one of us matters.