A fellow stopped at a rural gas station and, after filling his tank, bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and he watched a couple of men working along the roadside.
One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was about 25 feet behind filling in the old.
“Hold it, hold it,” the fellow said to the men. “Can you tell me what’s going on here with this digging?”
“Well, we work for the county government,” one of the men said.
“But one of you is digging a hole and the other is filling it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the county’s money?”
“You don’t understand, mister,” one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. “Normally there’s three of us; me, Joe and Mike. I dig the hole, Joe sticks in the tree and Mike here puts the dirt back.”
“Yeah,” piped up Mike. “Now just because Joe is sick, that doesn’t mean we can’t work, does it?”
On Monday September 5, 1887, 10,000 workers in New York took off work and gave up their pay to march from Union Square to City Hall to protest their unfair working conditions. As working conditions nationwide continued to worsen, more and more protests were held throughout the Country and in 1897, Oregon became the first of the States to make the first Monday in September a legal holiday called Labor Day.
This day has a particular meaning to me. As a teenager growing up in Detroit, Michigan I worked as a clerk in a major law firm which was partially owned by Victor Reuther, the brother of the founder of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Walter Reuther.
Both Walter and Victor were warm persons dedicated to making the horrendous working conditions in business and manufacturing firms better for millions of low paid workers throughout America.
In fact I stood beside Walter Reuther during the famous Battle of River Rouge, which occurred when thousands of Ford Motor Company employees marched against that Company in protest of their working conditions-a battle which forced one of the most anti-labor industrialists, Henry Ford to recognize the UAW and make improvements in the workers working conditions.
It was war time and Detroit, being the center of manufacturing of weapons, aircraft and other defense needs, was the center of the struggle to provide decent wages and working conditions for labor.
Throughout the country there were major parades, picnics and celebrations of the role of labor. On Labor Day, the President of The United States would come to Detroit to make major speeches. My fondest memory of that event was having Walter Reuther introduce me to President Harry Truman, who was accompanied by Senator Hubert Humphrey on Labor Day 1948 (As a result of the meeting I ended up working with the Senator when he founded the ADA-American’s for Democratic Action).
So, to all of you wonderful persons who labor every day to make our lives better, we should all join together and say thanks for being there for us and at the same time we should take a moment on this coming Labor Day to remember those who dedicated themselves to the improvement of our work place conditions.
Bernie Otis is a well known Writer, Author, Speaker, as well as a highly respected Food, Beverage and Laundry Consultant, Marketing/Sales Consultant. During his lifetime he has been involved in the Design and supplying of All major Hotels in Las Vegas, Disneyland and major hotels, hospitals and universities nationally and restaurants (he has been involved in the Design of almost all restaurants in Southern California.
Bernie’s 2 Books; “How to Prepare for Old Age—Without Taking the Fun out of Life” and “Revenue Generation Through the Sale of Kumquats——And Other Things” are Best Sellers on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. His weekly blogs can be read at http://seniormomentswithbernardotis.com/
Bernie also is an advisor to families needing information on Senior Living Facilities and other issues related to Aging
Bernie can be reached at Seymour.Otis@gmail.com–818-519-8347