When we think of Labor Day, we think of a day off work, a day of celebration with barbecues and picnics, and maybe the last official holiday of the summer season. All those things are true, but I think that the last two years of Labor Day holidays have taken on a different and more special meaning. Whether you are an Anti-Vaxxer or a Pro-Vaxxer, you were involved in the Covid-19 Shutdown of 2020. During that time, many businesses were shut down, and life ground to a halt, except for the few people who were deemed essential workers. We were told to stay home unless we qualified as an essential worker, and the workforce in this nation and many other countries took on a whole new meaning. Some of it was good and some of it was bad, but today, I want to focus on the good. I think it’s always best to focus on the good when we can.
The term “essential workers” took om a whole new meaning too. Most of us would agree that in a crisis, hospital workers (from doctors to cleaning staff) are essential workers, really in any situation. The sick are always among us, and they cannot care for themselves when the illness is severe. There are other jobs that we never thought about, or at least most of us didn’t. Suddenly delivery people became essential. Railway workers, truck drivers, mail carriers, and pizza delivery people all fell into the “essential workers” category. What, pizza delivery, are you kidding me? No, and other food delivery people too. Food delivery suddenly became essential, because restaurants were closed, and Americans are notorious for their enjoyment of restaurant food…and as a result of the shutdowns, grocery delivery too. Many people have chosen not to return to “in-store” grocery shopping. Mail order meals, as well as, both grocery delivery and pickup, are completely common and they are not going away.
Our workforce has drastically changed. I could have listed computer and internet technicians…and they are essential, but much of their work can be done remotely. In fact, many jobs that were always considered an “in-office” job, are now being done remotely. That has change office jobs drastically. Companies are finding that they can downsize, which of course, effects the building owners, Remote jobs have become commonplace in many lines of work. Of course, that doesn’t make those jobs any less essential. We still need those workers, they just work differently.
Labor Day was designed to celebrate the workforce. When the day became a federal holiday, the workforce was very different. These days the workforce is very different again. Nevertheless, the workforce still needs to be celebrated, and that is what we are celebrating today. The American workforce.