Here we are, another holiday in 2020 that will go down in our history as an uneventful day. Maybe that is just for me and my family. Heat wave, COVID and fire concerns (Did I leave anything out?) are all keeping me indoors and close to my family. As I type this, I come to realize that nothing much has changed for me from previous years.
Having over 25 years in the wine industry, Labor Day was never a holiday that meant family vacations or planning a BBQ or just sitting around taking the day off. It meant working to keep up with harvest paperwork or preparing for harvest. The last 10 years in the wine industry I was directly involved with the vineyards. I made sure we had all our contracts both for equipment rentals and labor in order. I organized all the safety pre-harvest meetings. I worked with vineyard teams to make sure they understand the overtime and break policies and procedures. Basically, I had so many responsibilities that the idea of having a planned vacation was not something my family entertained.
Today I have time to reflect on the meaning of Labor Day and why it is a federal holiday.
Labor Day celebrates workers and the freedoms that workers enjoy thanks to the American labor movement. In 1882 the labor movement held a parade in New York City asking for some basic working conditions, like safer work conditions and better pay, and from this was born the idea of having an annual celebration of laborers. In 1894 Labor Day became a federal holiday.
Our United States government guarantees a safe place to work, fair pay and time away from work to rest. So, whatever it is that you are doing this Labor Day, please take some time to thank those working, especially our “essential” workers. I hope you find a way to balance your work life and family life throughout the year.