Irrespective of occupation, just about every employee on the island enjoys some sort of benefit on the job, whether it be sick pay, maternity leave or vacation days; they were all conceptualised and fought for.
They were not given– but created, argued, resisted and eventually established.
There were no PowerPoints, white boards and cloud-based computers to propose, organize, store and collaborate on ideas.
These ideas were formed up, finalized and polished in living rooms, after normal working hours, with home workers still putting the kids to bed.
They were conceptualised in homes that were built with hands, community help and labour that was paid in IOUs and barbeques. And then those ideas were rolled out on placards, to be held by those who risked their entire economic well-being, and those of friends and family, on a gamble.
Even simply trying to organise the ideas into viable political points was repaid with threats to livelihoods and being painted a villain.
And those brave souls won – for all of us.
But let’s not forget that for every victory, there was a price paid. Time with family, leaving some broken and scattered, careers and businesses destroyed, friends and associates lost along the way. And in the worst cases, injury and death.
So, as we join to honour labour, let’s remember that it was only through deft thinking, keen insight and the vision for a better tomorrow for every employee in the Bermudian workforce, many of us would not enjoy many the benefits which come with their jobs.
It’s worth remembering that trading labour for compensation, is as worthy of celebration and aspiration as it ever was.
Such deliberate, clear-eyed strong men and women still form the basis of labour in Bermuda. They will form it going forward, and in and on them, rest the hopes for a more civilized Bermuda. Happy Labour Day!