For most people, Labor Day is often recognized as the official end of summer, complete with picnics, fireworks, parades and other celebrations. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and it continues today as an opportunity to say thank you to the American worker, especially those in the construction industry.

The millions of men and women who make up the U.S. construction workforce have the opportunity to make an impact on their communities unlike any other profession. Craft professionals build the roads that connect our towns, construct the buildings where we make a living, erect the schools where our children are educated, manufacture the hospitals where we get medical care and assemble the places we call home.

While Labor Day is typically associated with unions, the majority of construction professionals — 86 percent — choose to work by the merit shop philosophy. These workers place a high premium on safety, the quality of work they produce and believe employment opportunities should be awarded based on qualifications and performance. They deserve our praise.

Our country’s landscape wouldn’t be what it is today without the hard work, sweat and dedication of the American construction craft professional. This Labor Day, remember to thank all those who work hard to build for the future.

Greg Spenner

President and CEO, Associated Builders

& Contractors of Iowa, Waukee