Hello, everybody! Jody Ann Johnson here, People Champion and Strategist with the 98th episode of “Coffee with Jody”, as we go into September, we start off with Labor Day. So today we’re talking about the holiday Labor Day, how it came about and why it’s so important.
Back in the 1800s, if you can imagine this, people worked a 12 hour day, seven days a week in really unsafe working conditions. Some children, as young as five and six were working in mills factories and mines, and at a fraction of the low wages the adults were getting.
We’ve come a long way from then till now. Today, as we celebrate Labor Day, the first Monday in September, we think of three-day weekends, the end of summer, the beginning of the school year, having hot dogs and barbecues by the pool. That wasn’t always the case from that time of 12 hour days, seven days a week, unsafe labor environments to today has been a complex and unique road.
In 1882, 10,000 workers took an unpaid day and marched on city hall in New York city. The success of that parade, and that march gave momentum to the labor unions and workers to begin to negotiate and even demand better working conditions, working hours and wages.
It was many years in the late 1800s, that Labor Day became a federal holiday and at the time it was only for federal workers. It wasn’t until the 1930s that it became a true national holiday that everybody got to celebrate. So when we think about Labor Day today, we’re celebrating the contributions of American workers to the United States success and accomplishments out in the world.
The mindset of many employers in those days was that people were actually more like a machine or a tool rather than a human being. And they didn’t actually appreciate people who work for them, not saying everyone, but the way that they interacted with their workers was more to be utilized then to be celebrated.
However, when you think about it, all of the accomplishments that have taken place from the start of the United States until today have been the accomplishments of the American workers. From the highways and the railroads and the factories and all of the kinds of things that made America great through the industrial revolution were because of the work that these people did. Yes, of course their employers and other business leaders were directing that, but they could never have gotten it done on their own.
And I think that’s the biggest thing that as a people champion and strategist, I want to stress the most, the scope of impact we can have as an individual is not very big, it’s actually tiny. However, when we have a team and we have people that want to work with us and bring their creativity, their talents, and their efforts, the scope of impact is enormous. And that’s what we want to celebrate on Labor Day this year.
A kind of a fun fact I read is that between Memorial day and Labor Day Americans will eat over 7 billion hotdogs. That’s pretty crazy. And I think I’ll have one this weekend, too.
What I’d like to know is how are you celebrating the people on your team this Labor Day? Obviously we will have a long three-day weekend, but as business leaders, what can we do to really make sure that our team members know that we appreciate them, know that we value them, know that their contributions are the key to our success.
Go ahead and share with me in the comment section, how you’re going to be celebrating Labor Day and what you’re going to be doing for your teams, as we really honor what’s allowed our country and our businesses to be so successful.
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It’ll be my pleasure to speak with you. Bye for now.