Labor Day and the changing workforce

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) Labor Day used to be a day to honor hardworking blue collar workers, but as 22News found Monday, the workforce is changing and so is the way people view Labor Day.

It used to be a chance to give thanks to hardworking people.

Now Labor Day is associated with businesses open, shopping sales and cookouts.

“I think it’s more about being with family and celebrating the end of summer, is what it’s become,” said Kasandra Hilton of Wallingford, CT.

Labor Day activities aren’t the only thing changing – so is the workforce we’re celebrating.

Those 9 to 5 labor-intensive jobs that come with holidays and weekends off, hardly exist anymore.

“We don’t go by holidays at all, so if it’s 4th of July or Labor Day, it doesn’t matter, if there’s an event, we go in,” said Springfield’s Regina Leigh.

Nowadays there are a growing number of knowledge workers. Those are people who may be physically at the park with their families but are so tethered to their phones, they’re virtually always at work.

“I’ve noticed everyone works weekends. Especially Sunday when it’s supposed to be a family day and now everyone’s working, everyone’s working overtime and trying to get more hours in, working late,” said Caitlin Nero, who took her family to Forest Park on Monday.

A recent Forbes report looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that found in 2009 the number of white collar workers officially started exceeding the blue collar workers Labor Day originally celebrated.

In 2013 only 11.3% of private sector workers were union members: down from 20% in 1983.

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