A History Lesson on Labor Day and 3 Ways Independent Pharmacists Can Celebrate

For students, it’s a Monday off after the start of a new school year.

For workers, it’s a welcome reprieve from the standard work week.

For others, however, it’s another day at the office — or the pharmacy.

Such is what defines one of the most underappreciated holidays of the year: Labor Day. But Labor Day is more than just the first Monday of September. It’s filled with intrigue and surprising tidbits, celebrating workers who get things done while the rest of the world watches.

As the sun is setting on a blistering summer season, brush up on your holiday knowledge and learn of ways you can celebrate Labor Day and all the hard work your pharmacy staff does every day.

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

On September 5, 1882, 20,000 New York City workers —including children — marched from City Hall to 42nd Street to voice their frustrations of working 12-hour shifts and 7-day weeks that were severely damaging their health.

Other states began to follow suit in the festivities: Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday by 1887.

Labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the workers’ tireless contributions, opting for eight-hour days and 40-hour weeks.

In 1916, Congress passed the Adamson Act, requiring an eight-hour workday to be the new standard for railroad workers, more than two decades after Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894.

Today, Labor Day is a national holiday where schools and other government locales are closed for the day.

Though the holiday is now viewed as the unofficial end of summer, it will always be a celebration of union workers at its core. Meant to champion the fair treatment of workers, this holiday’s spirit goes beyond the factory or the service industry.

If the last two years are any indication, healthcare workers warrant a much-needed time in the spotlight.

Ways to Celebrate Labor Day for Independent Pharmacy

In your independent pharmacy, your staff is instrumental in ensuring your workplace is running smoothly, often at the forefront of customer service.

They are often the ones conducting point-of-sale transactions, processing insurance claims, answering the phones, and even taking out the trash when need be.

Without them, you wouldn’t be able to focus on pharmacist-specific tasks. Your staff is indispensable, and after two-and-a-half years of COVID and the monkeypox crisis making the rounds, they more than deserve some recognition.

Here are three ways to do it:

1. Bring Food, Good Food

Whether you’re an exceptional baker or an okay cook, providing your staff with food is one of the classic ways to show your appreciation of your pharmacy staff. The thought is what truly matters here, but that doesn’t mean you should just buy a cake at the local deli (unless the cake is truly phenomenal).

Bring food that you know your staff will generally like, which means being mindful of any food allergies or other dietary restrictions your techs may have.

2. Gift Cards for Everyone

Sometimes cake won’t cut it — but cold, hard plastic can.

What better way to show appreciation to your staff than a gift card to their favorite restaurant? It gives your staff leeway on how they want to treat themselves and avoids the awkwardness of (politely) refusing the food you made.

A Starbucks gift card might be the way to go, encouraging your techs to make that morning coffee run before work so they’re up and running when it’s time to open.

If your staff somehow doesn’t care for coffee or your cooking abilities, a simple Visa gift card should suffice. Just make sure you do something to celebrate Labor Day.

3. Write a Letter

If you’re the sentimental type, this one should be right up your alley.

Your pharmacy coworkers are like your second family, riding the highs and lows of a typical day as you all try to get hundreds of tasks done before the sun goes down. It’s easy to feel discouraged or lost in the shuffle while dealing with the daily chaos.

Extend a hand to your staff and assure them that they’re heard and appreciated. Just a few kind words, whether written or spoken, can go a long way in boosting staff morale and other personal plights you don’t know about.

Our “6 Key Steps to Support Your Pharmacy’s Staff” blog gives you even more ways to express your appreciation towards your independent pharmacy’s staff.

Celebrating Labor Day the Right Way

Pharmacy is always evolving. It practically changes with the wind. Your staff’s versatility, adaptability, and calm under pressure play a major role in your pharmacy’s success — and you should let them know about it.

Labor Day has always been intended to celebrate the unsung heroes of the workplace — those who come into work during holidays, peak rush hour, or past business hours to help one more customer.

This Labor Day, make your staff feel heard and appreciated. They deserve to know how they make your pharmacy — and the community around them — as special as it is.

Whether your pharmacy is open or closed on that first Monday, know that you are a vital part of your community’s health and safety. It might not be said enough but it doesn’t make it less true: you’re doing great.

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