Labor Day was first observed at the end of the 19th century. But what was life like at that time before the rights of workers were taken into consideration? Imagine this: as an average worker, you would log 12-hour days, seven days a week. And those long hours wouldn’t even equate with a large paycheck. Working 80 or more hours a week typically earned you just enough to make ends meet. Not only were workers not rewarded for their hard work, they also faced many risks on the job. As a laborer at that time, you would work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions with minimal breaks every shift. And, these terrible conditions weren’t the norm for adults alone. Children were also worked to the bone.
Thankfully, through the combined efforts of many, the American worker now enjoys much better working conditions and far better compensation. This is, in part, to the understanding and appreciation of the impact our laborers make on our communities. Labor Day marks that shift to respecting those that build our nation and keep it going. Think of the Labor Day holiday as the time to acknowledge how American workers raised the standard of living for Americans across the board. It’s their great work, day in and day out, that has helped us grow as a society. Take it from the U.S. Department of Labor, which acknowledges that it is the American worker who is responsible for “the greatest production the world has ever known” and who has brought us “closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy.”
The American construction worker is still working hard for the wellbeing of our community to this day. Now, each worker is often doing more work to make up for the labor gap our industry still faces. Let’s not forget about their impact just because life is no far easier than the 19th century. To honor today’s workers, consider celebrating your team with a team meal, complete with an awards celebration.
A team gathering over good food is always a great way to boost morale. A catered event will make every team member relax while a potluck will support the sense of community within your organization. Adding an awards celebration is a great way to showcase the successes of the team, bringing their great work to the forefront. Go all out for this celebration. Include certificates or trophies and photos of completed projects. No matter how – or when – you celebrate, keep the true meaning of Labor Day close to heart.
Let’s make this Labor Day about more than just parades, barbecues and wrapping up the summer season. Let’s all honor the real heroes of the Labor Day holiday.