ORG Blog

Recognizing Labor's Contributions


Since its beginnings in the 1880’s as a municipal holiday, Labor Day in this country has celebrated the contributions made by workers and the unions which represent them. Those contributions include helping to make the workplace a safer environment, protecting children from being in the workplace when they should be in school, the establishment of reasonable hours, holidays, overtime, benefits and a myriad of other changes that have influenced the nature of work in this country.

In a recent discussion with a good friend, who has served for several terms as the Bargaining Chairman of one of the largest locals in the auto industry, he shared his disappointment that unions have done far too little to assure that the general public has a balanced picture of the kind of person the typical union member really is.

Very little effort has gone into sharing, for instance, how much charitable work has been done and the generous monetary contributions that have been and are being made every year by union members through their local organized labor groups. (His local alone has donated over $1 million in recent years to organizations that have the welfare of children as their primary focus.) In his words, “we have allowed the public to have only one picture of union member – a front page photo of an unshaven angry male worker carrying a STRIKE! sign in a picket line.”

Unfortunately both labor and management are all too often characterized today as polarized enemies unwilling or unable to do what is required to create a healthy organization for all concerned – customers, shareholders and every employee. That is not, however, our experience in our practice.

At Overland Resource Group, our work over the years is based on our belief in the value of diversity and the power of multiple perspectives. We have built our practice on bringing labor and management together, and helping them overcome the din of disagreement to shift focus toward the opportunity that dwells in finding common ground.

It is in that spirit that we reached out to a group of management and labor leaders, colleagues and clients to ask them to share their thoughts as they reflect on what Labor Day means to them. The responses received from a cross section of leaders of all types is a clear indication of the power of respect for everyone at the table and a sense of optimism based on the power of collaboration. We assembled these thoughtful insights to publish a Labor Day edition of our e-newsletter and invite you to read them for yourself:

Special Labor Day Edition

From all of us at Overland Resource Group, please accept our best wishes for a Safe and Happy Labor Day. May all of your labors be productive; your collective efforts rewarding; and may collaboration bring outcomes that far exceed expectations!

Topics: Collaboration Labor Management Leadership Overland Resource Group