Labor Day

imgresSo, it’s almost Labor Day – the last long weekend of summer (even though summer isn’t “officially” over).  I’m taking a moment here, self-indulgently, to think about what Labor Day means to me.  (Full disclosure:  I’ve spent the vast majority of my career employed by a labor union (the same one, in fact, for over 21 years), and I could not be happier about that.  I’m a lucky girl.)

But sometimes I get asked why I care about the labor movement.  After all, I cannot deny I’ve led a pretty privileged life, even if parts of it were really, really hard.  And while there are both union members and those who do not believe in the value of unions in my immediate family, I saw first-hand the value of the unions to those who were members.

I started college thinking I would be a professional theater artist of some kind – or an entertainment lawyer – but after college, and after being part of an organizing campaign that left me unemployed – I really wasn’t sure.  So, I took yet another regional theater job, and I got fired.  I headed back home with my tail between my legs, and freelanced at local theaters while I decided what to do next.  Grad school had always been in the back of my mind, and in fact, if I had not been fired on the deadline of my school of choice, it might have come a year sooner.   The freelancing got to me pretty quickly – HATED IT – so off I went to study with some real giants of the modern theater (and incidentally, get an MFA in Theatre Management).  During my three years at the school that shall not be named, I did an internship at the union that now employs me.  That internship was a revelation, and when I was staring at the real world after graduation, I called up and there happened to be a job open.  The rest is history – I got not only a job, but a career I love and that adds value to the work lives of others.  As I said, I’m a lucky girl.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll leave you with a favorite quote (yes, I know, it says “men” throughout – historical context is a bitch.  I read it as “people”):

“With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.” — Clarence Darrow

And that’s what Labor Day means to me.  Enjoy!


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