Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 2, 2013

Another View: Labor Day — in fact and in theory


Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Something of the man-power of labor will be visualized in Minneapolis today, and something of its present lot and its aspirations will be given voice.

It is well that there should be at least one day each year when there shall be a pause in industry, a laying down of tools and a coming together, face to face and mind to mind, in a common survey of past achievement and future possibility. ...

The day has come to be thought of particularly as one set aside for those who labor with their hands, who produce material and visible things, but there are thousands of others — who have a part in the rest, recreation and free comradeship the day affords.

These are laborers, too, and they are producers, turning out things which, though they may have no tangible, physical form, are yet necessary to the wants and needs of the human family.

There should be a better mutual understanding between those who produce visible things and those who produce invisible things; between those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brows, literally speaking, and those who, in making a livelihood, draw upon their nerves rather than upon their muscles; between what we call the wage-earner on the one side and the salaried man, the professional man and the great body of employers on the other.

Labor Day is not what it should be if its contacts and its opportunities do not contribute to these better understandings. ...

There is a very even distribution of human nature, of human virtues and frailties, throughout the human family. That fact ought to make for friendliness and forbearance rather than for enmity and impatience, but it has not done so, and it will not do so until men give more of their time to looking for the good and less to looking for the bad in others.

Unhappily for Labor Day, the businessman, the professional man and in a large way the salaried man have acquired the habit of staying out of the game, of standing on the sidelines and letting only the manual toiler get into the picture, the action and the speaking of the lines. ...

Why should not Labor Days henceforth be in fact and practice of what constructive minds like to think of them in theory — occasions when prejudice should be put off, when there should be a coming together of all interests in a spirit of good will to learn better the principles of industrial justice and better how to apply them to the activities of the workaday world? ...

Reprinted from the Sept. 5, 1921, edition of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune.