Category Archives: history

Pay Tribute on Labor Day – A Nationwide Holiday

Detailed illustration of a 3-cent stamp issued to commemorate Labor Day in 1956. The image comes from a mosaic in the lobby of the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C.

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

     The US Department of Labor – which is celebrating its centennial this year – has provided a history of Labor Day, including the inception of the holiday and the traditions that surround it, excerpted below. 

…a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

     The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

     The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

     The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

 Opportunity. Then and now, it’s about opportunity.

     Labor Secretary Tom Perez blogged about the interwoven history of the civil rights movement and the labor movement, their common goals, and the needs we still face today.  Secretary Perez said:

     “…But again, there is still so much more to do … in skills training and education, workplace safety and health, retirement security and job creation. And in particular, we must do more to ensure an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

     People who work full-time in America should not have to live in poverty – simple as that. Too many jobs don’t pay enough to get by, let alone get ahead. Too many people are finding the rungs on the ladder of opportunity further and further apart. Workers around the country are bravely raising their collective voice and taking action to demand fair wages. We need to hear these voices. They are acting in the proud tradition of the marchers 50 years ago who took action for justice and dignity.”

     We couldn’t agree more. So, as we head out to our family barbeques or other Labor Day activities, we wish to pay tribute to those individual threads – the American Workers – that together create the fabric of our nation.

Professionalism: A Choice Between The Art of War and Aikido Principles

Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan from The Jernigan Law Firm.

Lawyers are often engaged to resolve conflicts. Sometimes the conflicts are resolved peacefully and harmoniously in a win/win environment and other times the resolution comes out acrimoniously and bitterly in a win/lose scenario. The former outcome is always preferred, yet many of us unwittingly choose a method of professional behavior that drives us toward a hostile, embittered and emotionally draining environment that we didn’t want.

How can this happen?

For insight, let’s look at an ancient Chinese military philosopher, Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War during the fourth century, B.C., and then compare it to the relatively recent principles expounded by Morihei Ueshiba, the Japanese founder of the martial art of Aikido. The Art of War was brought to the attention of the western world when it was translated into French and published in Paris in 1772. Napoleon is believed to have read and studied it. In more recent times, trial litigators and corporate executives have quoted from it in order to justify their tactics. Sun Tzu recognized that war was a matter of vital importance to the state and that it was mandatory that it be studied and mastered. (Machiavelli, when he wrote The Prince in 1513 A.D., had a similar vision about the importance of obtaining and holding power).

Sun Tzu was ruthless. He once had two of the King’s concubines beheaded after they repeatedly failed to follow his explicit instructions. Afterwards, all the other concubines followed orders as told. Sun Tzu was clever. He believed that all warfare is based on deception. He advocated angering the opposing general in order to confuse him, and sought to keep him under strain so he would wear down. Sun Tzu was aggressive. When his forces were abundant he urged attack. He encouraged agitation of the enemy and counseled striking where the enemy was most vulnerable.

Many lawyers follow these tactics in an attempt to gain strategic advantage over opposing counsel. Their goal is to win “the war” for their client and they will use any tactic allowed by the Local Rules or the Rules of Civil Procedure, etc., and can adamantly defend their actions by saying nothing they have done violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Although Continue reading