Another Labor Day holiday weekend is upon us. We hope that the great majority of those in the workforce will enjoy a restful, festive — or both — long weekend.
The history and tradition of Labor Day celebrates the dignity of honest labor and highlights the value that workers daily stir into this nation’s potent economic mix. Work — and finding ways to do it ever more efficiently — has been a great fuel for America’s enduring prosperity.
The Labor Day holiday also offers an annual reason to explore and ponder the state of both workers and the manifold jobs they perform in this country. As is the case with any situation rising or falling upon multiple variables, assessing the health of work can be complex, and seemingly contradictory, as one snippet of information may clash with another.
The big picture is much as it’s always been — a complex portrait that’s easy to either oversimplify — or over-complicate.
A look back at editorial pages of this newspaper from 50 and 75 years ago proves that many of the concerns at our forefront today are nowhere near new. A 1967 Labor Day editorial spoke of the challenges facing labor and management alike. The big issues are still with us. Among them then were the desirability of creating a diverse workforce and the need for continual training to keep worker skills current and relative to the demands of jobs and the economy.
Looking further back to a nation at war, Labor Day 1942 saw The Atlanta Constitution praise workers who decided to forego the holiday celebration in favor of working an ordinary day producing raw material for the war effort. “No man can deny that this year’s Labor Day celebration is the finest of them all,” the newspaper wrote.
In today’s troubled, often-harsh and perilous world, the lessons of old have a solid place in reminding us of what America’s overcome in the past. We can do it again today.
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Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.