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7 things to know about Labor Day and the Crossroads workforce

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 31, 2013 at 3:31 a.m.

16 x 9 labor day

The Advocate asks ... How do you plan to spend your Labor Day?

"I'll have a barbecue with the family. We'll get together all day to eat and talk."

  • David Salazar, 53, of Victoria, on disability

"I don't have plans yet, but it's usually a pretty laid-back day. I'll eat food and spend time with my girlfriend."

  • Taylin Sledge, 18, of Victoria, Victoria College student

"We usually get together with family at my mom's house or the park. You have to take advantage of every holiday and spend as much time as you can with family. You just never know what might happen."

  • Angela Barraza, 41, of Victoria, housekeeper

"I'm going to party. Get drunk."

  • Mathew Henderson, 21, Victoria resident

"I'll probably just hang out with family."

  • Paige Kutchka, 16, Victoria, Victoria West High School junior and Montana Mike's employee

"I may be working. If not, I'll enjoy being off school. Maybe sleep all day."

  • Jennifer Alvarado, 16, Victoria West High School junior and Montana Mike's employee

"I don't know, really. I haven't made plans. I'll probably just spend time with family and stuff."

  • Rebekah Reha, 16, Victoria West High School junior

Associated Builders and Contractors thank regional workforce of craft professionals

FROM A NEWS RELEASEWhile Labor Day typically signals the end of summer, it is also an opportunity to pause and celebrate the American worker. In particular, one segment of the country's workforce should be recognized - the construction industry and its skilled craftsmen and women, Kathy Autry, president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors Texas Mid Coast Chapter, said in a company news release.

Labor Day is often associated with labor unions, but it actually is a day to honor all workers, regardless of labor affiliation. The United States Labor Department reports that in 2012, only 13.2 percent of the workers in the construction industry were members of a labor union. The majority of construction workers - 86.8 percent - choose to work in a merit shop, free enterprise environment.

The success of the merit shop can be attributed to the team approach to construction and in an environment that promotes open competition. Contractors and their construction workforce join together to meet the needs of owners. This ensures projects are completed safely, on time and on budget. Merit shop employees take pride in the company for which they work and are rewarded for their contributions to the team. They are considered by many to be the best trained, most productive and safest workers in the world.

On this Labor Day, we are readily reminded of all of the construction craft professionals. These skilled workers build our offices, schools, hospitals, churches, sports arenas, restaurants and shopping centers that are central to our lives and make our communities unique. They are the electricians, millwrights, carpenters, welders, painters, pipefitters, roofers, masons, plumbers, ironworkers, heavy equipment operators, sheet metal workers, drywall installers, steelworkers, road pavers, concrete finishers and others who work hard every day building America.

Few industries touch our daily lives so directly and in so many meaningful ways. What better time to celebrate the sweat, hard work and dedication of the American construction craft professional.

The Texas Mid Coast Chapter has served the construction industry since 1982 and recognizes the achievements of our general and subcontractors, suppliers and professional associates who help build America.

Thank you.

School's back in session, the city pool's closed, and holiday items already sit on store shelves. Still, summer isn't over just yet.

Labor Day - the season's unofficial end - is Monday, offering workers nationwide a bit of reprieve from the day-to-day grind of the office.

But how did the holiday start, and just how many people does it affect? We have some answers.

Here are seven things you might not know about Labor Day and the Crossroads workforce.

1: The first Labor Day, Sept. 5, 1882, was organized by the Central Labor Union. Workers in New York City gathered for a parade, which inspired similar events throughout the country. By 1894, more than half of the states celebrated some form of a "workingman's holiday."

2: On June 29, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill declaring the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

3: Nationwide, 34.1 million people will travel at least 50 miles away during the Labor Day travel period, which spans Thursday through Monday. That's a 4.2 percent increase over last year's 32.7 million people.

4: The National Safety Council estimates 394 traffic fatalities will take place nationwide this Labor Day weekend from 6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Monday. Vehicle collisions are also expected to cause another 42,200 injuries requiring medical attention.

5: Employment in the Golden Crescent workforce development area - which includes Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca and Victoria counties - sat at 95,935 people in July. That's up from last July, when employment rang in at 94,323 people.

6: The average weekly salary throughout the Golden Crescent workforce development area was $860.23 during 2012's fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the average sat at $1,026.84 across Texas.

7: A number of people could soon find themselves updating their wardrobes. Labor Day doesn't just serve as the unofficial end of summer. For many, it marks the cutoff date for wearing white.

SOURCES: AAA Labor Day 2013 Travel Forecast, National Safety Council news release, Texas Workforce Commission data, U.S. Census Bureau website, U.S. Department of Labor websITE

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