While Labor Day typically signals the end of summer, it’s also an opportunity to pause and celebrate the American worker. One segment of the country’s workforce often is overlooked—construction craft professionals.
Labor Day is often associated with labor unions, but it actually is a day to honor all workers, regardless of labor affiliation. The U.S. Labor Department reports that in 2012, only 13.2 percent of the workers in the construction industry were members of a labor union. The majority of construction workers—86.8 percent—chose to work in a merit shop, free enterprise environment.
The success of the merit shop can be attributed to the team approach to construction. Contractors and their construction workforce join together to meet the needs of owners. This ensures projects are completed safely, on time and on budget. Merit shop employees take pride in the company for which they work and are rewarded for their contributions to the team. They are considered by many to be the best trained, most productive and safest workers in the world.
On this Labor Day, take a look around and say thanks to all of the construction craft professionals, regardless of labor affiliation. These skilled workers build offices, schools, hospitals, churches, sports arenas, restaurants and shopping centers that are central to our lives and make our communities unique. They are the electricians, millwrights, carpenters, welders, painters, pipefitters, roofers, masons, plumbers, ironworkers, heavy equipment operators, sheet metal workers, drywall installers, steelworkers, road pavers, concrete finishers and others who work hard every day building America.
Few industries touch our daily lives so directly and in so many meaningful ways. What better time to celebrate the sweat, hard work and dedication of the American construction craft professional. From all of us here at Workforce Under Construction, have a safe and happy Labor Day.