A federal holiday established in 1894, the holiday was founded by the labor movement during a very dark time in the history of working class.
In 1882, more than 10,000 workers took unpaid time to march in New York City in protest of conditions across the nation; this is recognized as the first Labor Day parade.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution, American workers, including children, worked 12-hour days, seven days a week for minimal wages in mills, mines, and factories that were often unsafe and provided inhumane working conditions. Agriculture was replaced by manufacturing in mainstream American employment, and labor unions grew prominent and vocal. Through the pressures exerted by protests and strikes, unions and workers were able to compel major changes in conditions, hours and pay.
Declaring Labor Day as a federal holiday was an attempt by Congress to repair ties with the American working class in the midst of the massive unrest that shook the nation.
There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the USA (2017) and of those, 22 million are solopreneurs, meaning those businesses have no hired employees. These include cottage “craft” businesses that make and sell handmade goods, homemade food items, and personal services. These statistics are calculated on the number of us who actually file for business licenses, so the true number of Americans who rely on small businesses for employment is a difficult one to pin down. Suffice it to say, there are many. Maybe some of your characters are even small businesses. Many of mine are, in both series.
While there are many very helpful programs under the federal Small Business Administration – paid for by our tax dollars folks, so USE them – they don’t actually protect us except through education. For small businesses, there are no unions to fight for us, holidays (paid or unpaid) are in short supply, and the largest benefit cited by most is our ability to flex our work schedules to include things that are important to us. Like the school field trip or play, caring for family and friends in need, or being on vacation more than the corporate 10.4 days per year. Freedom to live our lives on our terms, lucrative or not. We work longer hours per day and week, pay our taxes before ourselves, bring home less net pay sometimes, and struggle to provide health benefits that we did – or would – when working for corporate-owned businesses, but almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to about this says the same thing: “Wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
What we do is band together in organizations where we can share information, advertising, and service opportunities. For writers – and if you are selling your books you are a business – do your research and then invest in your business by joining orgs that can help you learn, achieve, and maintain your business success. And yes, I know that the word “success” can mean different things to different folks, and it should, but for my purposes today, I mean not putting the family out on the street because you are an author.
As an author, I belong to associations like the Florida Writers Association, Liberty States Fiction Writers and Sister in Crime. My relationship as a member helps me to continue to learn my craft and trade, take advantage of cooperative advertising opportunities, be energized and encouraged by fellow authors, and turn a profit.
As the owner of On-Target Words, I belong to organizations like American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI), Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and most recently, Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). And, for all of the same reasons I cited above. The point is, get the right support for your goals and understand it comes at a price. Make the time to take full advantage of the amazing perks of belonging.
I hope that your Labor Day is spent without labor and can be spent being energized, instead. May your burgers (beef or veggie) not be burned, your favorite beverages plentiful, and may the Lord keep you safe, humble, and happy, every day.
Keep writing, reading, and submitting! See you next week with an Author Interview. You’ll meet an amazing man: Colonel (Ret) Will Merrill, author of the Ordinary People: Extraordinary Heroes non-fiction series. See you then!