Labor dayBy Jena Williams

Most occupations celebrate Labor Day with a day off, however that is probably not the case for most truck drivers. Truck drivers work around the clock to deliver all the things we count on to be waiting for us at the store when we want it. If you are out on the road today, fighting all the extra holiday traffic, we want you to know that you are appreciated.

Monday marks the 130th Labor Day to be celebrated since the first “workman’s holiday” was held in 1882, and it isn’t hard to imagine what a treat a simple day off must have been to the working men, women and children who toiled away in the increasingly industrialized America of a century ago.

No matter your viewpoint on issues such as the federal laws governing hours of service, this seems like an appropriate time to consider where America’s labor laws originated and why.

One hundred thirty years ago, men, women and children (often as young as six) might work every day of the week in shifts of 12 hours or more – in mines, factories, mills and other hazardous workplaces.  No breaks or meal periods. And being too sick to go to work could mean no pay for the day or even a lost job. It was not uncommon for wages to be changed arbitrarily or not paid at all, with little recourse for the aggrieved worker.  Getting injured on the job meant nothing to live on for you or your family while you recovered from your injury, if you even did ever recover. Wow!

As imperfect as federal and state laws that govern trucking and other industries may be, I’m personally thankful that the working conditions of a century ago are not what we experience today. And I continue to be grateful to those who bring it!

What does Labor Day signify to you? Are you working today? What would you like to see changed?

 

History of the trucking industry: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Trucking-Industry-Overview—-History-of-Trucking and http://www.ehow.com/facts_4963620_history-trucking-industry.html

Professional truck drivers remind motorists to be safe on Labor Day weekend: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/08/30/048020-professional-truck-drivers-remind-motorists-to-be-safe-during-labor.html

Washington State Department of Transportation Labor Day traffic tips: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2012/08/28_laborday2012.htm