Before you fire up the grill this coming Monday for your Labor Day festivities, you may want to take a moment to reflect on what the day actually represents. The holiday was first observed on September 5, 1882, a day in which 20,000 workers gathered to celebrate what would later be referred to as a “workingmen’s holiday”. From a historical perspective, Labor Day was organized and celebrated by New York City’s Central Labor Union but within just a few years, the holiday had spread to several other labor unions. While it is important to acknowledge the many accomplishments and productivity of the American worker on this day, let us not forget to also show appreciation for the employers, particularly small employers. These small business owners are the individuals willing to take immense risk, oftentimes sacrificing all of their personal assets as well as countless hours away from their families, with the goal of achieving financial and non-financial success.
Small business owners often put their livelihood on the line for their businesses. When facing financial hardships, most do everything they can to pay their employees before ever paying themselves a dime. This holds true even in an economy in which it has become more costly to do business. Over several decades, in an effort to stay competitive with larger businesses, small employers have met the evolving needs and demands of our modern labor force. Beyond a safe working environment, good pay and competitive benefit packages, workers now seek a positive work culture. To that end, last year it was reported that approximately 81 percent of small business employees say they are satisfied with their jobs. This should tell us that small business owners are doing something right by creating the kind of culture sought by employees.
The nation and the state have come a long way since the 1880’s and have accomplished so much in terms of economic prosperity, in large put due to the entrepreneurial spirit of generations of risk takers. So, this Labor Day while you are honoring the American worker, also be mindful of the many sacrifices of those who employ our second-to-none workforce.