America is a nation built on the backs of the working class. A distinctive work ethic characterizes American success—it is a pillar of the American Dream to have a job and an income to support one’s family. In America, unlike so many places in the world, it is said that if you work hard and do your best, you will succeed. The working man in American is almost as distinctive as her religious freedom.
For over 200 years, people have come to America for the opportunity to work.
Today for almost everyone, an American job is one of distinct privilege—a fair wage, breaks, vacation, benefits, and great working conditions.
Labor Day is a day to remember the men and women who fought for these privileges. Organized workers and unions shaped America in an often-overlooked way. The unions of the mid- to late-19th Century revolutionized how workers are treated by their employers. Say what you will about modern Unions being insanely out of hand; you can thank these original organizations for your workplace sanitation and your paid vacation.
A rousing round of applause for Peter J. McGuire!
As we look back with appreciation for those individuals who demanded worker’s rights, it seems equally imperative to remember the American workers before us who made our nation great.
Consider the great feats we have accomplished: millions of miles of train tracks and roads, countless buildings built, endless acres of crops tended, innumerable products created and sold, billions of patients cared for, and students taught. The American workforce has accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time.
We have an unrepayable debt to slaves who helped build our country, to immigrants who came here seeking a better life to find only more hard work, to millions of laborers who have given their lives on the job, to the organizations who brought workers rights, to the men who insisted on working for their money in the CCC, to the women who took over jobs when duty called men away from home; we owe a great debt to many people.
And we owe a great debt to you.
Every day you wake up and stumble to your job. Or perhaps you endlessly scroll through help wanted ads looking for the work—a full time job in itself.
Many of us work all day and come home and work much of the evening. Some work all night and miss most of the day. Others work seemingly endless shifts to get only a few days off before returning.
Work ethic is a characteristic of an American. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at a job well done is nearly unmatched.
We may not love our jobs, some may even hate them, but we all know that we’re lucky to have them.
Enjoy this day off, you great American worker, to appreciate all that others have done, all that you do, and all we will accomplish together.