Some Catholic Thoughts for Labor Day 2021, by John M. Grondelski

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September 6, 2021
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*Image: City Building by Thomas Hart Benton, 1930-31 [The MET, New York]. This is one of ten panels in Benton’s America Today series commissioned by New York’s School for Social Research for its boardroom. It has been resident at The MET since 2012. “Every detail of every picture is a thing I myself have seen and known,” Benton said. “Every head is a real person drawn from life.”

By John M. Grondelski, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 4, 2021

John M. Grondelski – a new contributor to The Catholic Thing – is former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. All views expressed herein are exclusively his.


John M. GrondelskiLabor Day weekend is customarily Americans’ end of summer, the last chance to get away before school starts in earnest.  Somewhere amidst farewells to summer, it’s also time for politicians (especially in election years – watch out Virginia, New Jersey, and now California) to pay tributes to and seek the votes of American labor.

Labor Day 2021 is apt to be a little different.  During two weeks on a New England vacation, I was struck by a real labor problem: the lack of workers.

I’d heard about businesses having difficulties finding workers, but the reality came home repeatedly during my trip.  Restaurants in Maine asked me to wait for hours because they lacked staff.  It wasn’t just sit-down places.  Ice-cream stands were forced into reduced hours.  Motels and hotels looked out of the corner of their eyes, hoping you just might leave before check-out, so that they had more time, with less staff, to clean rooms.  Lots of places displayed signs like “Pardon Our Wait Times” and “Thank Those Who Showed Up.” …