Reprinted from the Sept. 6, 1926, edition of the Minneapolis Tribune.
Once more, as in recent years, this Labor Day was looked forward to in the United States without any feeling of dread or misgiving about what it might bring forth. The sun will rise and set on it as on any other day of industrial peace. It seems a contradiction in terms to say of Labor Day that it is a rest day, but that is precisely what it is.
There is the rest of respite from the usual industrial tasks. There is the rest of outdoor recreation. There is the rest of social commingling, of listening, perhaps, to what Labor Day in its best sense signifies. There is the rest of contemplation of what the year has brought, and of what the coming year may bring.
Labor, and not leisure, gives color and fashion to the American spirit. It may be the labor of the hand, or the labor of the head; it is still labor, and dignity and honor invest it. Toil is no longer a token of social inferiority as it once was; it is the physical or mental manifestation of a serious life purpose. As such it is worthy of the highest human respect, and gets it in this country from all circles as never before.
The mere spender of what others accumulated for him is usually a negligible factor in the body social. The spender must also be a producer if he is to have standing in the court of common opinion.
Labor Day is little used any more as an occasion for bannered parades, which might or might not be of pacific tone, or for a show of organized manpower. Our great industrial concerns are coming more and more to be partnerships as between those who employ and manage on the one side, and those who labor and physically produce on the other.
They are partnerships in the sense that the wage earners in them have proprietorship in stocks and bonds, and in some important instances in the profits.
This kind of popular ownership is abating the old harmful idea that capital is one thing, that labor is another thing, and that the natural normal condition is for the two to be arrayed against each other. Common interests are taking the place of opposing interests. Success is coming more and more to be understood as a thing affecting both employer and employee for good.
Our latter time Labor Days are different, due to these facts.