We have always had a complicated history especially when it comes to labor in these United States of America. Our country has a deep history of slavery, indentured and involuntary, since it's inception and it was always something that was the cause of friction and evolution into forging what is the correct and right treatment for human beings, and I feel that we are always steadily apart of that discussion and conversation, as a nation and a species, if we are all honest with ourselves. It did not have to be that way, but that is the reality that we choose to connect ourselves with and have to be the fabric of our societal woes.
Labor Day was formally founded after the Pullman strike in 1894 when then President Grover Cleveland was hoping to gain a political alliance by honoring the railroad workers. What is normally not shared is that a significant part of the railroad workforce and a majority of the Pullman Porters were African-American and they did duties such as carrying baggage, shining shoes, janitorial and cleaning duties, and attending to the needs of the White passengers, as they traveled on the train, which was the main and fastest mode of transportation of the day. It's hard for us to remember it now, since we all have cars and planes now, but if you look, there are railroad tracks in every city in the US and in many ways, those train tracks carry a lot of history of the towns that we live in.
The Black Porters were not allowed to strike, were told that they had no rights and were threatened with being fired and and had no rights to the newly formed labor union. So they did only what was natural and was one of the first civil rights acts, and formed their own union.
This Union was called the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Porters Union. This was the first Black union and the first President was none other than A. Philip Randolph, which was also the main organizer and brains behind the first attempted National March on Washington for jobs and freedom, however this march was called off due to President Roosevelt meeting with the Civil Rights leaders.
The event was cancelled because they felt that their terms were met as the President signed an order barring "federal racial discrimination in the federal defense industry". This was seen as a success and inclusion.
This was a major win for Randolph and other Civil Rights activist and leaders, as it allowed many Black people passage into a host of other employment opportunities and industries that they were barred from earlier, even though local, national and privates companies continued to discriminate against Blacks, to this day, it was hailed as a huge win.
So while folks enjoy their Labor Day functions, celebrations and parties, it is always good to reflect on and understand that the rights, privileges and treatment that we adopted from the blood, sweat and tears of past generations should be honored, since they fought to give these gifts to us, in the form of policy. It is also our duty to continue the embrace the struggle and fight just as hard, to keep advancing this nation, our policies and promises, to create a more perfect union, for all, and not just for some.
Every single policy that we have on the books, was won and fought for by our ancestors and progenitors and it is up to us to deal with injustice once and for all, and make the world that our grandchildren adopt to be one that we are proud of and that they can embrace wholeheartedly.
The History of the All Black Pullman Porters
Even though many of us love what we do, it is still a common curse and reality that many of our organizations, companies and institutions still think that human beings were created to work and labor, instead of the opposite, that the work itself should be created to serve us and our well-being. More and more companies are learning what it means to have:
4 day work weeks,
5 hour work days,
proper treatment of their staff
living and maximum wages
excellent knowledge about benefits and perquisites
In order to retain their talented workforce, attract additional exceptional people, end their cycle of high turnover and burnout, and provide superior products, service and treatment, with a team of staff, who are motivated, have high morale and whose lifestyle match the values of the company that they are investing time in and committed to serving.
Even companies that meet some or all of these stellar goals listed above, statistics have shown that we still struggle with attaining supplier diversity, board and executive diversity, faith-based diversification that matches the demographics of their customer base, and national make-up, still eludes all of them due to the lack of advanced cultural competence, awareness of the importance of having universal in public and private sector implementation of affirmative action due to our complicated history with slavery, a top-down and bottom-up commitment to diversity and inclusion, openness to broad egalitarianism and dedicated to advancing multiculturalism in each workplace in the world.
For some reason, this eludes many of us, and for even the most optimistic of people, we realize and come to grips that what I described above is still quite a ways away for us to attain broadly in society and on the various continents around the world.
This is the reason why many people are starting their own businesses, crafting their own movements and searching for solutions that allows them to advance their brands consistently and not resting on their laurels of what is considered the basic human rights.
With this in mind, we would love to offer some assistance. If you are an individual, organization or institution that has any of the challenges listed above and would like to team up with an company that can help to create goals, set milestones and discover solutions that allows your personal and professional brands to attain and maintain excellence, Common Excellence Coaching would love to serve you in that capacity.
Click here to choose from any of our coaching packages and receive 25% off due to it being Labor Day. Set an initial free meeting with us today to start the process.
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