Labor Day. What so many of us, myself included, once thought of as a demarcation of the end of summer, takes on new meaning after a pandemic. Amidst so much social and economic unrest, the upcoming holiday prompted me to look deeper into the origins of Labor Day.
Since March, we have all labored in some way. From the labor of worry to the labor of being housebound and our collective labored breath under mandatory masks, we have felt the complete weight of our work. This year more than ever, we must also honor our essential workers who put themselves in the front lines to become our newest heroes. From healthcare workers and hospital staff to our grocers and restaurant workers keeping food and supplies in stock, we especially honor and thank them on this Labor Day.
My labor and the talented few of us who call ourselves the Energized Realty Group, resulted in over 70 families moved in the past five months. Reflecting on this, it takes me back to my mission as I wrote this piece, which parallels the Labor Movement’s mission. Like us, they were willing to WORK HARD, wanted to HAVE FUN (better conditions, fairer hours, etc.), GET PAID, and DO GOOD for our families and community.
Labor Day, established as a Federal Holiday in 1894, at its core, pays tribute to the American worker. With nearly 18 million unemployed, we must celebrate the American worker today. The mindset of “what’s in it for me” alone just isn’t cutting it. During the Industrial Revolution, out of which Labor Day was born, an individual worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, often under deplorable conditions just to feed their family.
Newly formed labor unions grew more prominent and began organizing strikes and demonstrations to protest poor working conditions. This compelled employers to renegotiate hours and terms of employment. In many cases, protests turned violent with police and civilian fatalities. They say history doesn’t always repeat itself, sometimes it rhymes.
Today, in many towns and cities across the country, including NYC, social unrest continues to escalate, often with devastating results. But who is right? Who is wrong? No one knows, definitely not me. One thing is for sure. I have found an even greater appreciation for the diversity that Queens offers, now more than ever.
This Labor Day, as it calls for the end of the summer, let’s remember that during our country’s 1st Labor Day in 1894, like now, many were left wounded or worse for what they believed in. It’s been a difficult time, but it’s getting better. I want to take this moment to thank you for your business (for keeping me in business!) and for your labor.
Happy Labor Day.