Monday, September 7, 2015


Here we are celebrating another Labor Day and the beginning of the another year mentally. I mean, it all begins with the new school year, right?

Labor Day is an interesting holiday. I never understood it's real significance until I was well into adulthood. I was told growing up that it's a day when everyone gets a day off from work. Which is really only half the story. But coming from a non-union family that was the message.

My family members were traditionally labor going back to my ancestors. Among them were blacksmiths, farmers, lighthouse keepers, railroad workers....but mostly they worked for themselves, owning their own businesses. Here in East Hampton there were no unions for many years and even now there aren't many. So while they worked hard, physical jobs here on the East End, they weren't union jobs.

My father was the first in his family to get a college degree and he started his own business selling insurance. My mother had a teaching degree, but never worked full-time after she had children, so again, no union members.

Now I have a number of children in unions between the teachers and the town civil service workers, and while I have mixed feelings about unions in general and the power they have, I appreciate the labor movement and what Labor Day stands for. Children should not be working and everyone deserves decent pay and good benefits. And I loved the movie Norma Rae! But somehow it seems strange that it's become a major retail day meaning so many people have to work. Seems a bit odd, don't you think? It would be nice if on,y essential people, like police and healthcare workers had to work today. That would be much more civil to me.

No comments: