The Legacy of Labor Day

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In North America, the September long weekend has come to signal the end of summer and the chance for one last backyard barbecue before the fall. Its original significance is sometimes lost on us in the hustle and bustle of back-to-school preparations.

But Labor Day is a cultural holiday that commemorates an important moment in workers’ rights history and celebrates how far we’ve come. Labor Day is also one of the few holidays celebrated on the same day across all of North America, regardless of religious affiliation.

Labor Day’s Origins
Labor Day began in Toronto, Canada back in 1872. At the time, unions were illegal in Canada and workers often faced deplorable working conditions, long work weeks, and low wages. The late 1800s weren’t easy for those in the U.S. either, with the average American working a 12-hour day and a seven-day week, just to make a decent living. Workers … Read more...

Quality’s expanding role: from manufacturing to marketing

Given the broad scope of applicability quality management has adopted in the past two decades, it is understandable that some level of abstraction clouds its purpose.

Before ISO 9001 — indeed, before its 1971 precursor, BS 9000, a set of standards published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) to guide quality management in the electronics industry — and even before the popularity of statistician and quality management pioneer Edward Deming, the need for robust quality management was quite concrete, especially in a military context.

During World War II, the inadvertent detonation of munitions in a weapons factory as the result of sloppy handling or process oversight carried particularly disastrous results: the loss of life, raw materials, time, money, manpower and military advantage. It was this very context that spurred the consistent documentation of specific control processes and procedures; the methodical execution of activities that conformed to documented standards; and the ongoing … Read more...