Laboring on Labor Day 2019

Guest Correspondence

BY TOM BARWIN SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY AUG 31, 2019

Growing up in the Detroit area, Labor Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Besides the burgers, hotdogs and an extra play day for kids, I always sensed the parades, picnics and rallies we experienced, brought a real sense of pride, dignity and solidarity to those who worked so hard in often thankless jobs.

But times have changed, and union membership has shrunk from its peak of 35 percent of the workforce to just over 10 percent today. Nonetheless, surveys indicate Americans remain among the hardest working people in the world. And it shows. Generally speaking, our society functions very well. It's interesting, as a country we pride ourselves on our independence, both national and individual, but in reality, we are as inter-dependent as ever. And there may not be a better example of our inter-dependence than how we collectively respond to emergencies like Hurricane Dorian.

Although we're coming into a holiday weekend and potentially very dangerous weather, truck drivers are working overtime to deliver fuel and re-stock our markets in threatened areas, and store clerks will be there to serve the public as long as it is safe. Electrical crews are pre-positioning to restore power as quickly as possible wherever it gets knocked out. Our school leaders and volunteers are on standby and ready to open 11 shelters this weekend, if necessary, for those who may have to evacuate from older homes, trailers, college dormitories, low lying areas or from other parts of the state. Our hospitals will remain staffed.

Locally, our police, fire, EMS, road and tree crews, water and wastewater utilities will be on duty 24/7 to do all they can to respond effectively to whatever Dorian throws at us. And our city and county emergency operation centers have been activated and our public information teams will be active and communicating with the public until the threat is over.

As with all weather events, we hope for the best, but we will be ready for the worst. In terms of the best way for you and your extended family to monitor what we expect and how to react, I would strongly suggest you and yours tap into our city and county social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with monitoring events through local media.

It looks like Labor Day 2019 may not be the best day for one of those traditional picnics, but it will be a great reminder of how we all can and do work together to do what needs to be done. And maybe, just maybe, we'll experience a moment or two of solidarity. As I recall, it's a pretty good feeling.

Tom Barwin is Sarasota City Manager.

Photo courtesy City of Sarasota: City Manager Tom Barwin, center, speaks with emergency officials about prep for Hurricane Dorian.

« View The Saturday Aug 31, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Shelter Order Deserves Honest Consideration

Shelter Order Deserves Honest Consideration

Jacob Ogles | Mar 28, 2020

SCF Provides Continuity to Students

SCF Provides Continuity to Students

Carol Probstfeld | Mar 28, 2020

Politics, Pandemics, and the Value of Creativity

Politics, Pandemics, and the Value of Creativity

Dr. Larry Thompson | Mar 28, 2020

Businesses are the Lifeblood of Our Community

Businesses are the Lifeblood of Our Community

Christine Robinson | Mar 21, 2020