If you’re firing up the grill this weekend and enjoying the beautiful, late-summer weather, take a moment to recall the reason we mark this Monday holiday. If you have a three-day weekend off work, that might be due to the work of labor unions.

Myriad changes in the workplace grew out of the early years of organized labor. Unions fought hard for worker issues such as health insurance, paid vacation and safety requirements.

Created by the labor movement in the late 19th century, Labor Day first was declared a federal holiday in 1894.

While there was a time when labor and management were adversaries, these days ensuring a quality workforce requires the cooperation of both.

Labor leaders in Dubuque long have known this and have made the effort to collaborate in many instances. Striking a balance between being advocates for their membership and applying a cooperative tone in working through issues with management is business as usual in today’s labor organization.

For growth and prosperity to continue in our community, cultivating a force of workers will be critical. It’s a challenge being tackled on multiple fronts. Dubuque-area organized labor and the relationships that unions have built with management are keys to building on that effort.

Union or not, we can all celebrate the American worker: The men and women whose dedication and resilience have helped us get through the challenges of the past year and a half.

In tribute to them, let’s make an effort to honor workers this weekend by recognizing their infinite impact on our local economy and treating them with the respect they deserve.

If you’re out and about this weekend, taking advantage of Labor Day furniture sales, stocking up for a barbecue or enjoying a night out at one of the tri-states’ fine establishments, take a minute to thank a worker making it possible for those places to remain open.

By now, we have all felt the impacts of the worker shortage. Whether it’s months-long waiting lists for certain products or services, restaurants closing early for lack of help or waiting a little longer at the checkout line, we have seen firsthand the hole that a shrinking workforce leaves in our economy.

It’s been perhaps decades since citizens have had such vivid reminders of the value of the American worker right here in our communities. This Labor Day weekend, we offer our gratitude for the enormous contributions of workers everywhere.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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