A short time ago American workers enjoyed a day off, but few of us really thought about the meaning of the holiday: Labor Day. What is it about? Looking back into the story of the holiday we see It’s about recognizing the high value of the workers and respecting them as human beings by giving them time off from work!
From the Department of Labor website we see the following: “Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.”
Unlike other holidays, Labor Day doesn’t have any gifts or costumes or stories. For many people it could include time with friends or family, and perhaps a barbeque. It marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year, so school age children might see it as the last day of freedom.
At “The Conversation” online magazine we see the following information on how the holiday came to be.
“The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.
“In the 1830s, manufacturing workers were putting in 70-hour weeks on average. Sixty years later, in 1890, hours of work had dropped, although the average manufacturing worker still toiled in a factory 60 hours a week.
“These long working hours caused many union organizers to focus on winning a shorter eight-hour work day. They also focused on getting workers more days off, such as the Labor Day holiday, and reducing the workweek to just six days.
“These early organizers clearly won since the most recent data show that the average person working in manufacturing is employed for a bit over 40 hours a week and most people work only five days a week.”
At AMS Fulfillment we are grateful for the gains of labor in the past. As a B Corporation we attempt to set a new, higher standard in recognizing the value of labor today and in the future. AMS carries on the meaning of Labor Day by investing in our employees, offering free on-campus college education courses, job training and encouragement to advance. We also have a long history of inclusive hiring and promotion practices.
The days of exploitation of labor are over, and we are grateful to those who, in the past, fought the fight for respect and appreciation of the workforce. Our B Corporation commitment is to be ‘good for the world’, and for AMS good for the world means good for our workforce. We know they are the reason for our success. Thank you to all AMS Employees!