Greetings and welcome to the annual Examiner Labor Day issue, where we celebrate the nobility of work and those who perform it every day – which includes most of us.
Labor Day is a holiday that was born in blood in 1894, when President Grover Cleveland pushed it through Congress just six days after multiple deaths during the Pullman Strike. Cleveland was seeking reconciliation with the labor movement that bloody summer, though those events are rarely mentioned when the first Monday in September rolls around each year.
Instead, we enjoy the last weekend of summer with picnics, barbecues, maybe a trip to the beach or just a lazy interlude to relax and unwind. Feel free to indulge in these pursuits – you’ve undoubtedly earned a break. But take a minute to reflect on what Labor Day is all about and consider the state of work and working men and women in 2012. That shouldn’t be too hard – just look in the mirror.
We recognize and honor those companies that drive our local and national economy, providing jobs and prosperity in Southeast Texas. This newspaper records their accomplishments large and small each week and celebrates the free enterprise system that makes possible our way of life.
On Labor Day, we pause to honor those who do the heavy lifting in this capitalist economy, the rank and file workers from the factory floor to the refinery to the front office, health care workers and first responders, teachers, retail clerks, landscapers, cooks, waitstaff and too many others to mention here. You know who they are – and they make up the fabric of our society and deserve our respect and gratitude.
The Labor Day publication is a tradition here at The Examiner, almost as old as the newspaper itself. We have assembled an impressive collection of stories and columns including contributions from Rita Haecker, president of the Texas State Teachers Association; Becky Moeller, president of the Texas AFL-CIO; Fr. Sinclair Oubre, co-founder of the Catholic-Labor Network; and regular Examiner columnists Carl Parker and James L. Holly, M.D.
A lot of work has gone into producing this edition, and I want to acknowledge editor James Shannon, copy editor Joshua Cobb, designer Adam Balla, graphic artist Justin Rabb and contributing photographers. Special thanks to Examiner staffer Edna Hetzel, who has coordinated our Labor Day efforts for the past 16 years and for whom it is a labor of love.