September 4, 2018

Labor Day

By Paul Bieber

We just celebrated Labor Day. A day off to barbeque, play with the kids or the grandkids and enjoy what is usually called the last day of summer. By the time you read this it is back to work, phones ringing, traffic jams and arguing with vendors.

But wait, Labor Day, originated in New York City in 1882 to respect the American worker, has lost its concept. It does not respect the American worker any more. Labor unions are down to about 14 percent of American workers, and those are mainly in government and food services. The glass industry used to be heavily union, especially in the northeast U.S. But things change and only the largest skyscrapers and construction projects use union labor. There are pockets where union labor is strong, Las Vegas for example, but independent glass companies are encroaching into what was strictly union territory.

But still, it is Labor Day. Did you celebrate the folks working with you? Yes, you gave the day off with pay. Is that enough? I suggest it is not. I recommend the following to every employer who reads this column, and it won’t cost you an extra penny.

Walk through your company and shake the hand of every person who works for you. Know their names and ask about their families. Ask them how they enjoy working for you. Write down any questions they ask and earnestly try to answer within a couple of days. The answer usually is no, we can’t air condition the factory, or give an extra half-hour for lunch, paid of course. But I promise you that you will get good questions as well, and good suggestions. You will pick up tips and ideas that will improve your company. These are the folks that know your company best.

If and when you do implement any of these ideas, give full credit to the worker who suggested the idea. Creating pride among your workforce doesn’t cost a penny.

Do this walk around this week. You don’t have to say it is because of Labor Day. Just do it and you will see smiles among your workers, feeling their pride in what they do.

You will never have a better Labor Day than this.