A Late Essay About Labor Day

cffblog6.jpgSeptember 26, 2017 (Tuesday)

I wrote this blog to be published on Labor Day, but Hurricane Harvey changed a lot of plans, including mine, It is several weeks late, but I hope you will read it.

When I started in the Seminary in the fall of 1953, I was working in an ice cream factory part time, along with several other part-time workers who were also students. My coworkers were fellow students and my friends. All of them except me were married, so I joined their number in October when Wanda and I married. At the end of the year, Wanda and I moved to Lampasas where I pastored a church. After a year, fellow pastor Gene McCombs and I registered for classes in the seminary and drove back and forth 185 miles each way, twice a week, attending classes and building credits toward graduation. Then Wanda and I decided that we needed to move back to Fort Worth, get back in school, and find a job. I found the job at the General Motors Assembly plant in Arlington, planning to attend classes in the morning and work the evening shift as a clerk. The company discontinued the second shift, however, and I resigned in favor of a part-time job at a feed store and granary. A church near our rented home out in the country called me as pastor, and finally, after six years of off and on student status, I graduated in 1959. The First Baptist Church of Kosse then called us as pastor, and we moved to a church field to serve full-time as pastor. I had been working at secular jobs since the age of 13, and learned a few things about working for a living.

My most intensive education about "the working man" came in the assembly plant, where perhaps 2,000 people were employed. My job every morning was to prepare a "manpower report" for my department before the assembly line started moving. The human factor was all-important in the construction of an automobile. From the first I could sense the tension between "Labor" and "Management."


Many years before, the Industrial Revolution had changed everything. Little by little the lines were drawn between Management and Labor. At first, the working man was simply a commodity, a cog in the wheel of manufacturing that had no representation as decisions were made about production. This resulted in some tragic uprisings of workers, violence and grave discontent. Finally, the workers organized and the owners and bosses began to listen to them. Out of all this and much more, the labor movement was born and ultimately a day was set aside to honor and show appreciation for the workers of industry. We call it "Labor Day" and it is observed the first Monday of September every year.

I was raised with working people. My father was a machinist. An uncle was a welder. Another, a carpenter. Some were painters. The list goes on: policeman, bus driver, restaurant workers, cannery workers, and on it goes. I went to school with the children of working people. So I appreciate the emphasis of Labor Day as a promotion of self-esteem and pride in one's occupation. I was also raised with business owners and I know very well that there are always two sides to an issue.

I have not tried to analyze anything in this blog; I'm just recognizing the importance of Labor in the forward progress of this nation. As we all grow in understanding and appreciation of others in our economic system, we will all benefit. The Golden Rule is never inappropriate in any sort of relationship; it would work well in the workplace.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 26, 2017 6:00 AM.

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