Now more than ever seems a perfect time to question the relevance of Labor Day in America.
For most americans, Labor Day means little more than a calendar-imposed deadline signifying the end of summer and back to school. There is the mandatory end-of-summer barbecue of course, and the deluge of back to school sales.
But truly, what does Labor Day mean in these trying economic times with 9.4% of the population OFFICIALLY out of work.
The Unions that fueled the growth and expansion of our economy after WWII and the Industrial Revolution have lost much of their relevancy. This happened over decades, as our economy transitioned to a post-Industrial, technology and service-based workplace and we outsourced, off-shored, and sold off our ability to do most business functions.
Strong unions rose in many industries, from automobile manufacturing to retail, airlines, teaching, etc. This led to higher wages and compensation levels that forced american enterprise to fall behind other nations in their ability to compete in the 21st century global economy.
The two-way contract based on loyalty and trust between employees and employers, built on the promise of a hard days’ work for honest pay no longer exists. In today’s contract economy, workers have few rights. An economy drowning in an unofficial national unemployment rate close to 15% screams for a halt in the farce of “celebrating” this outdated holiday.
So, what does Labor Day truly mean? Most workers that have been downsized over the past two years have been forced to go at it alone. Many have been forced to attempt to start their own business. An entirely new industry called “accidental entreprenuers” has popped up featuring people that have gone into business for themselves.
College students that graduated at the start of this summer have witnessed companies lay off their parents and grandparents. Today’s graduates, with no real job prospects of their own to pursue, are themselves becoming entrepreneurs. They are keenly aware that there is no such thing as employer loyalty.
Small businesses, the key force that has fueled new jobs creation during past post-recession periods are suffering mightily. The Obama Administration has done precious little to help small business owners survive these trying economic times.
So, let’s not go through the bogus act of celebrating Labor Day another year. Just pass me the BBQ and give me another ice cold beer.