At Olin Lippiello LLP we are proud to salute all workers on this Labor Day.
Officially, Labor Day in the United States has existed for more than 120 years. Its origins coincided with the industrial revolution; and the annual holiday was formally established by Congress and President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Within a few decades of its commencement, the “first Monday in September” date was used to spotlight the plight and progress of the emerging “blue collar” workforce: factory employees, agricultural workers, textile makers, etc. To many, having a day off from back-breaking labor was certainly cherished. But often of greater importance, was the ability to enjoy safe working conditions, job security, and a decent wage.
More than a century later, the face of American labor has changed dramatically. According to the Census Bureau and U.S. Labor Department, the occupations with the most employees now are “retail salespersons” (over 4.5 million), “cashiers” (over 3.5 million), and “combined food preparation and service workers, including fast food” (over 3.4 million). Other common jobs include “office clerks, general” (2.9 million), “registered nurses” (2.8 million) and “customer service representatives” (2.7 million).
The facts do not lie — we are now a service economy. Yet our service workers still strive for decent wage growth, promises of full employment, and a workplace free from harassment, discrimination, and other dangers. Ironically, it also means that millions of laborers are actually working today, serving others who are enjoying this last official day of summer.
Whether you are an employee or an employer, please pause today to consider the value of the U.S. workforce. Honest work for fair pay is more important than ever. Perhaps equally critical is the value that comes with producing, serving, and joining together for common goals. At the very least, let’s all thank a service worker today!