Tonawanda News

Breaking News

Columns

August 30, 2013

ADAMCZYK: Labor Day in a convent

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — We all think we’re laborers. We’re not, but even the white-collar union workers borrow heavily from the grunt workers’ playbook when it comes to organizing.

The previous decade’s trend, in industries that think they understand the future, is to pack offices with toys, to turn workspaces into play lands: do a little work, relax a little, do some more work. Only lately have the suffering coders and big-picture seers caught on; the idea is to make the work environment more inviting than the home environment. So people hang around more. And work more.

These flashy, high-tech offices are not crucibles of progress and breakthrough; they are convents for meditation about, and delivery of, the job at hand. Give me a noisy shop floor, any day.

Modern labor is on call 24/7 (that’s what those cellphones and Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shops are for). Modern labor is training when it’s not working, polishing resumes and competing with Singapore and Bangladesh and Poland. Modern labor is human beings with rapidly obsoleting skill sets in rapidly aging human bodies, doing things cheaper and faster with an eye on the bottom line and on on-time delivery. These people need a day off from the logistics of it all, but the big wheel does not stop turning for Labor Day. Wall Street, maybe, but not the big wheel.

So take the day off if you can, and note how many people labor on Labor Day. The area’s police, the doctors and nurses, those who provide you with television programs and sell you charcoal and hot dogs and furniture. Count the number of car dealers who are open on the day to honor workers.

Those Industrial Revolution guys staring out from old photographs of workers’ celebrations likely knew they made an advance of sorts when they left the farm to participate in the urban workforce. Whether they knew the advance would involve an eventual splintering into a hundred million independent contractors, desperately celebrating something called Labor Day, is another matter entirely.

Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.

Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg A stunning scandal in Mississippi-voting|DUVALL: A stunning scandal in Mississippi We don't tend to talk a whole lot about Mississippi on this paper's editorial page and for good reason. It's a long way away in both distance and temperament. But I swear this will be worth it.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo