Appreciate all workers for their contributions

Many of us are enjoying today off from work as part of the Labor Day weekend. Some actually had Friday off, too, making for a real nice four-days off stretch. Judging by the crowds we have seen at the Canfield Fair, many of you took advantage of your down time to enjoy a trip there.

Labor Day once marked the end of traditional summer including back to school and the start of fall sports such as high school football. But not so much any longer. Schools have been in session, local swimming pools are closed for the season and high school football just completed its third week,

Autumn is coming. With it will come a change of leaves, chills in the morning and evening airs, checks of our home heating systems, tired corn stalks leaning against each other and the Halloween/Octoberfests seasons.

But for today enjoy your day. Especially if you were one the thousands of local workers who did not hit a pause over the past 18 months or so since COVID arrived. Many of us are working today. Some don’t mind, some don’t have a choice. Thanks to all of you.

On Labor Day we must not forget the importance of using the day to recognize the dedication displayed by area workers and appreciate the meaningful jobs that they do. We must recognize the efforts of past workers — our now retired seniors — who forged our nation into the finest in the history of mankind.

Labor Day was enacted as a federal holiday to be celebrated the first Monday in September by Congress on June 28, 1894. Federal legislators approved the Labor Day holiday only after earlier proposals were made on some statewide levels. One suggestion had come from Peter J. McGuire, a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, to set aside a day for a “general holiday for the laboring classes” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

Undoubtedly, 2021 presents a different kind of Labor Day. Still, we should note the historical foundations for this holiday at a time when our history now seems to generate more division than cohesion.

Today, however, the critical importance of workers in every walk of life cannot be more evident as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic in which Americans have experienced business shutdowns that for months stunted the economy. Locally owned mom-and-pop shops and the workers they employ have suffered. Sadly, many of those small businesses simply did not survive, leaving workers without jobs to return to. Now after pandemic restrictions have been lifted and after businesses have reopened, more struggles have developed stemming from a worker shortage, seemingly at all companies large and small.

Job numbers released last week are disturbing. They are the lowest since January. Many employers are still begging for workers, offering hourly rates you never would have imagined for, say, fast-food workers. Many businesses are offering incentives and even sign-on bonuses. It will be interesting to see how job numbers change once all the government handouts disappear. That is if they indeed ever dwindle. It is time for so many to quit feeding at the government trough. Whatever happened to the meaning of “work ethic” and “self pride” for so many who would prefer to essentially be paid not to work? At some point it has to end. Right?

But in many, many instances throughout our area, we know that dedicated, hard-working employees are doing what they can to keep those businesses open and operating, even when the number of workers falls well below the ideal situation. Still, countless dedicated workers graciously have agreed to juggle more responsibilities, take on additional hours or shifts and generally take on more tasks than they should have to.

Without a doubt, those good workers here and nationwide keep businesses humming and profitable. So if your Labor Day includes a trip to a local retailer for some shopping or for eating out, we urge you to recognize the retail workers there who ring you out, or the servers who bring your food or the clerks who wait on you. Leave a nice tip if they deserve it.

While Labor Day always was intended to honor these workers, the challenges of this year clearly makes workers and the jobs they do everyday even more deserving of appreciation.

So, let’s continue to be mindful of some difficulties facing understaffed businesses. Give them your patience. Let them know that we appreciate and respect that they are there, contributing to society and to the businesses that employ them.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.


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