As I write this, I am sitting at my kitchen table enjoying a day off work thanks to Labor Day.
Across Page and Northern Arizona, there are many others also taking the day off. But those of us lucky enough to have a three-day weekend are probably not the majority in Page.
At lunch, my family went out to eat and there were many there working to help us out.
A stop at the store saw even more people working on a day designed to honor the working class in America.
At Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, hotels, restaurants, retail stores and many more, people went to work Monday just like any other day. For them, Labor Day was a day to labor.
And for that, I am grateful. I don’t know the exact history of Labor Day, but I believe it was set up to honor the unions and the men and women who worked in them to make things like cars, keep things running like Navajo Generating Station and create things like movies and TV shows we enjoy.
Through the years, labor unions have lost significane in the country and have become a political hot potato. Democrats rely heavily on unions to help at election time while Republicans in general try to weaken unions.
I have personally never been a union member, although newspapers in some states have unionized. I have spent most of my career in the west and south, areas where most states are right-to-work states like Arizona.
In right-to-work states, unions have been minimized, although they certainly still have a role to play.
The reality, even for a conservative like me, is labor unions have benefitted workers across the country.
At my job, we have health insurance that is paid mostly by our corporate office. We all have paid vacation, paid sick days and paid holidays like Labor Day.
Although I am not a member of a union, these ideas that started as union benefits have now spread into the general marketplace.
In Arizona, no matter what your job, you make a minimum of $10 an hour. That was a decision voted on by the voters and one I did not support, but anyone who claims unions didn’t play a role is mistaken.
The reality is labor unions have played a good role in America. Workers make more and are appreciated more because of work done by unions through the years.
I don’t see a resurgence in unions in the near future, but I do believe they will always play a role in our community.
And on days like today, when I get to be home with my family, I remember the unions and the role they have played in the American marketplace.