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Remember workforce as Labor Day approaches

Labor Day is coming Monday, and we’re sure many of you will be taking the opportunity for a little fun – whether that’s a backyard cookout, a day at the lake or a long afternoon nap. Some consider Labor Day as marking the unofficial “end” of summer – although we know that here in Alabama, there are plenty of hot sunny days still ahead – so the weekend often provides the perfect chance to splash into a final pool day, soak up some rays, set off for a local fishing spot or even take a mini-vacation.

However, like so many of our national holidays that sometimes seem like little more than a chance to relax and eat good food, Labor Day is rooted in something a little deeper – and we’d like to remind you to take a moment to honor that history, in the midst of your holiday plans.

Labor Day was formed out of the U.S. labor movement. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the observance is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

The first governmental recognition of Labor Day, the DOL notes, “came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon Feb. 21, 1887 … and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.”

This year, many American workers have experienced challenges like never before. Whether or not a business was judged “essential” at the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown, each has had to deal with its own share of obstacles and setbacks.

Business have had to figure out how to pay their employees, whether that meant tapping into savings or pursuing a federal PPP loan. Everyone from the boss all the way down to the 9-5 worker has been forced to take a hard look at what their work means, how it might change, and how to regroup and still provide goods and services despite a global pandemic.

So this Labor Day, let’s honor those workers. Frontline heroes, teachers, small business owners, restaurant servers, government employees, real estate agents, attorneys, jewelers, accountants, loggers, lawn care professionals, florists, customer service representatives, marketing specialists, welders, artisans, farmers, architects, hair dressers – space would fail to mention all those who work to make our community what it is, and everyone plays a part.

As the DOL notes, “The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom and leadership – the American worker.”

Let’s remember the American worker – the Alabamian worker and, closest to home, the Franklin County worker – no matter what job he or she might have.

There’s bound to be plenty of fun to be had this weekend, but maybe a part of our holiday can be dedicated to thankfulness for those who make this life possible.