Saturday, September 05, 2015


Labor Day is a marker in time, the end of a season and the beginning of one.

Today's holiday originated as a labor movement observance intended to honor the working class citizens of this city who afforded us this opportunity and things like the 8 hour day, the weekends, overtime, sick leave, worker's compensation, OSHA, you know, things that are now, well, taken for granted.

Their movement pushed to better the conditions of the work place and strove to secure respect and appreciation for those who work hard.

 Now it seems like some unions are destroying our country.

I am often struck by how hard everyone is working. Harder than before, it seems.

As one of the working middle class to be stuck in rush-hour traffic in the early morning is to be surrounded by people who are dutifully making their ways to desk and benches and counters and nursing stations and keyboards and cement mixers and cash registers and small businesses. 

To notice this most mundane fact of life is to be amazed by it.

The morning commute puts on full display what makes this Labor Day weekend so special.

How did human beings come to this ingenious mode of organization!

My father always told me the myth is that life "by the sweat of the brow" was a consequence of the fall, the wages of sin, in which work is defined by obligation and necessity.

But Labor Day should be more than just a date on a calendar and a long holiday weekend.

It is time to pause and reflect on the meaning of work, the contributions of workers. In today's economy many are not moving forward, reaping the rewards of their education, skills, and hard work. 

Families in the middle can be one lost job, one major illness, one unanticipated setback away from serious economic trouble.

Heck, unions gave birth to the middle class in America after WWII he preached... Us baby boomers have ridden this wave of economics that our parents created and have had a good ride thanks to many of the unions.

I do appreciate Labor Day for it's intended meaning.

See, I grew up in a union household; my father was a union steward for many years. While I'm thankful now that our family had to live through a few strikes or other major hardships, I was raised to appreciate one of the great virtues of organized labor-shielding employees from intimidation.

It'll come as no surprise that I was raised by a proud loyal union man. I know there were times when my father was acting as an internal whistle blower, standing up to his management about inappropriate or unfair practices.

Without the union, he and others would have not been safe to speak out.
This Labor Day, in honor of my father, I raise a toast to all the whistle blowers, and others who show courage in speaking truth to power!

Officer Laura Schook you make us all proud!

And most of all Happy Labor Day to all of New Albany's "little people" who work hard and play by the rules. Have fun and go barbecue something -- I'd prefer it not be an American flag, however better days are ahead for all of us in New Albany...We hope!

When one individual or class suffers, the whole body of society suffers; an injury to one is the concern of all, and the welfare of each the interest of all; and the common wealth requires the improvement in the condition of wage-workers, materially, morally, and intellectually.

~C.H. Zimmermann