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On Labor Day, I’m grateful for workers.

Happy at their work: Hot Shop glass blowers at Tacoma’s Glass Museum. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

I’m grateful for the organic farmers and producers who work, without government subsidies, to produce the healthiest food for our table.

I’m grateful for all the workers involved in getting food to us — the harvesters, granary workers, truckers, distributors and cashiers — and all the workers who ensure our food is safe.

I’m grateful for all the public workers, from firefighters and police to paramedics, public health nurses and teachers. I’m grateful for all the public works staff who ensure we have safe and dependable water, who watch for our public safety, who keep our public buildings, roads, etc. clean and safe for the common good.

I’m thankful for parks workers — wherever they’re working — because it’s the wild and green places of America I treasure most. I appreciate all they do to preserve American history and protect our cultural heritage.

I’m especially grateful to every worker who is a helper and healer. I’m keenly grateful for their selflessness.

Everyone laments the near-bankrupt Post Office, but when was the last time we thanked the postal workers who do such a remarkable job of getting the mail to us?

Every time I get a letter from home or a far-off friend, or a piece of hopeful news, I’m thankful for the person who delivered it. I should be more mindful that even carrying bills and unwanted mail requires labor.

On the hottest days of summer, when road construction stalled traffic everywhere, we met road crews who were sweating from working outdoors all day, yet took time to talk to motorists. They gave travel tips; they exchanged good cheer about the joy of having work in a limp economy. (Some traveled hours just to reach job sites.)

Every time we see a road improvement, we thank workers and the government out loud, because we benefit, whether we’re walking or biking or driving — or benefiting from goods and services that involved vehicles.

On Labor Day, I’m going to be more mindful of everything I touch, and pause to think of the workers involved in its design, production, distribution and sale.

Sample: I’m thankful to all those involved in producing our little car, to all those who keep it maintained and safe. I’m especially thankful to those who designed a reliable car that gets such good mileage, because we use it far more than we would have imagined for our fledgling business.

I’m thinking more today too, of all the workers whose contributions keep our governments going, paying for those who keep us safe, and all the other public benefits we often ignore or forget.

In this ever-toxic election campaign, unions are being bashed in some quarters — mostly, I suspect, by people who have never belonged to a union, and have never needed the protection of other workers (because that’s what unions are, after all, at their roots).

I am thankful for all the workers with the courage to stand up for the rights of other workers, whether they’re in a union or not, public or private, paid or unpaid.

I’m going to be mindful of the women, especially, who fought and were jailed and hurt for my rights, as a woman and a worker.

Happy Labor Day from a woman seeking employment in this country, a nation built with the sweat and imagination of workers.

 

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