On Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, America held its first Labor Day celebration. In 1894, then-President Grover Cleveland officially made Labor Day a national holiday. Since that time, America has recognized the first Monday in September to celebrate the people who keep our economy moving and society strong — the American worker.
2020 has brought a greater appreciation for our workforce. Healthcare professionals and first responders remain on the frontlines of a global pandemic to serve in our communities in order to keep us safe and healthy. Teachers are working to connect with students in unprecedented times. Meanwhile, parents and individuals working in occupations ranging from retail to construction, manufacturing, and food-service seek to maintain the normalcy of our American way of life.
The Kentucky General Assembly is remaining focused on Kentucky workers as we prepare for the 2021 Regular Session. The impacts of COVID-19 have dealt a significant blow to workers everywhere. Some have been left jobless due to economic restrictions that have made Kentucky first in unemployment. In contrast, others have been asked to take on additional hours to keep our businesses and hospitals operating.
The effects of the challenges Kentucky workers are facing are far-reaching. They leave families without needed income and communities and states without the revenue needed to provide critical services. It was reported last week that there are still 73,000 unemployment claims that have yet to be resolved. Behind each of those numbers is a Kentucky worker. A person who labored to provide for their family and benefit their fellow man in their service.
Kentucky faces a difficult road ahead, but we have traveled challenging routes in the past, both as a state and a nation. The American worker’s celebration is a testament to laborers’ will and ability across the Commonwealth and America to face obstacles head-on. Laborers of the past, despite adversity, built the foundation of today. I trust that through will and fortitude, workers of today will make a better future for tomorrow.
Today we celebrate the American worker. Please enjoy a safe and healthy Labor Day. God Bless.
Sen. Stan Humphries (R-Cadiz) represents the First District including Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon, and Trigg counties.