Best wishes for a Happy Labor Day. I want to take a few minutes to make some pithy observations about work on this day of the worker. From my office window this morning I watched a few minutes of the Labor Day Parade making its way through Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. It reminded me of the progress of the average worker’s plot in life. I am not suggesting that more progress is not needed, but compared to 100 years or so ago, when a 6-day week and 12-hour days in dangerous conditions were common–even for children–without much remedy for workers injured on the job, most people have better working conditions and at least have more holidays than they did 100 years ago. Of course, I work 6 days or more a week and often work 12 hours or more a day, but at least it is in an air-conditioned office.
Compared to my grandfathers who both came here with small change in their pocket as teenagers with few skills and no jobs waiting for them, but who worked for a few dollars a day at menial jobs and were thankful for the work, I have no room to complain. In part because few employers would hire Italian immigrants, they both eventually formed their own businesses and became quite prosperous. In light of the discrimination and harsh work conditions which they overcame, I am thankful to be the beneficiary of their heroic efforts.