Labor Day time to be thankful, compassionate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

I got the message late Friday evening. Three days before Labor Day, one of my best friends was laid off, effective immediately.

It didn’t matter that he was a U.S. veteran. They didn’t care that he has multiple degrees and significant experience in the electrical field. No one cared that he turned down other opportunities to stay loyal to the company that gave him a chance a couple years ago when the job market was worse than it is now.

This was purely the result of a sluggish economy that shows little growth and an unemployment rate that continues to hover just short of double digits.

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Economists may say that the recession is over. The American worker would beg to differ.

It’s a sad state of affairs that companies would be brought to this, but the reality is that it is tied to the state of our economy.

Don’t let the politicians taint something that was created as a positive thing. The spin doctors on both sides of the aisle will try to use Labor Day to further their agenda and amplify their message.

It shouldn’t be about that.

Labor Day is supposed to be a time to celebrate the American worker — especially the trade and labor organizations — but the American worker has little to celebrate.

These men and women are the engine that makes our nation go.

Many cynics say that those who are unemployed are that way for a reason. That couldn’t be farther from the truth in this day and age. These are good men and women with college degrees, technical training, years of experience and the soft skills to add to any team.

Perhaps more so this year than any year in recent memory, this Labor Day is a time to be thankful for the jobs we have and compassionate for those who are not so fortunate.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at