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A Toast to Your Employees

31 Aug, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

Ah, Labor Day. That last grasp of summer before the onset of school, fall then winter and the holidays. I don't delude myself that most of you who would typically read this column are doing so today. I trust (and hope) that you are enjoying a day of rest with your friends and family, as I am (having written this column before today).

But, doubtless, if you are a retailer, your store is open and there are employees working there right now. These are people who help to generate an annual average of $76,000 for each full-time employee you have (according to the 2003 VSDA benchmarking survey of member retailers), and thousands of dollars per employee to the bottom line. While the work being done in a video store is not going to change the world, still it provides (mostly) young people with a good job that builds some skills and confidence, and provides for a modest living (the average hourly wage of a video store employee is $9.53, according to the VSDA).

Labor Day began in 1882 in New York as a celebration of the working man, and the idea spread to other industrial and urban centers around the country, with Oregon being the first state to recognize Labor Day as a holiday in 1887, then Congress, in 1894, passing legislation making Labor Day (always the first Monday in September) a national holiday.

Today, while most employees enjoy Labor Day across the country as a holiday, the service sector workers often find that as one of their busiest days.

So here's a toast to your employees, some of who labor even on a national day of rest and relaxation for the American worker. I don't have to tell you how important they are to your business, nor how much you should value them and invest in their development. That's an investment that has contributed to America's worldwide economic dominance and helps fuel the growth of the nation. Cheers to them.

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