by Senator Joey Hensley
The strength of the American workforce compares to no other. For generations, the American worker has been a strong force driving innovation and progress. The Labor Day holiday recognizes our labor forces’ continued effort to strengthen and grow our economy. And we are deeply grateful to the American worker and their important role in creating the greatest economy in the world.
U.S. workers have been vital to providing our nation the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known. As President Ronald Reagan once said, “We built this great Nation, built it to surpass the highest standards ever imagined, through the hard work of our people. I would match the American worker against any in the world. The people whose labor fuels our industry and economy are among the most productive anywhere.”
Over the last year we have seen the American worker step up in new and brave ways.
I commend the work of medical workers and first responders over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their heroic efforts have not gone unnoticed. From caring for the elderly with COVID in nursing homes to ICU patients in the hospitals, our medical workers have gone above and beyond and continue to care for all those who have fallen ill.
Additionally, our grocery store clerks, farmers, meatpackers, truckers and factory workers have all ensured that our supply chain remained intact during the pandemic. They never failed to provide goods such as food and medicine to the American people, for which we are very grateful.
While we all celebrate Labor Day with Barbeques and time with family and friends, it is appropriate this Labor Day to set aside time to be grateful to these essential workers who help to keep us safe and healthy.
Throughout the history of Labor Day, there have been parades, picnics and other recreational celebrations. These recreational aspects in the earliest years of the holiday set the tone for the next 127 years, as it is generally observed by families across the country as a day of recreation and rest.
The first celebrations also included an emphasis on labor issues of the day, including child labor laws and better working conditions. The first Labor Day was at the height of the Industrial Revolution when many Americans worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to put food on the table. Some of these workers labored in unsafe working conditions, while children toiled in factories at a fraction of their adult counterpart’s wages.
It was clear from the beginning, that the Labor Day holiday was meant to provoke thought regarding the duties and obligations each of us have to each other, our community and families. This led to needed reforms. While our laws were reformed, American workers helped transition the nation to an industrial power unlike any other in the world.
Today, thanks in large part to the American worker, the United States remains to be a powerhouse in the world.
Have a happy and safe Labor Day holiday!