From an editorial in the Sept. 7, 1981, issue of the Minneapolis Tribune.
Labor Day 1981: We are uneasy but have not lost hope. We work in a fast-changing environment controlled by seemingly unknown forces. We attempt to make additional dollars only to find they are worth less and taxed more.
There is talk of shoddy goods, poor service, high prices and inconsiderate employees. Factories are getting old, investment in research is declining and productivity is slipping. We aren't competing effectively in the world marketplace.
We form a circle of blame as we point with assuredness at the cause of our problems: big government, big business, big oil, OPEC, obscene profits, union demands, inflation, loss of work ethic — the list could go on. Labor Day 1981 is a time to step back from the circle, look in the mirror and ask (based on our situation) the following:
Executive: Do I run my company with a balanced perspective toward investor, employee, customer and environment? Or am I a one-year-at-a-time, bottom-line-driven profit-taker totally motivated by the annual "goodie" bonuses as I discuss my extensive long-range plans which cover the next six months? Do I scream for a free open market, but cry foul and seek government protection when confronted by "market-savvy" foreigners?
Middle manager/supervisor: Do I make total use of my employees' abilities by providing a safe work environment in an open atmosphere of mutual trust with full consideration for the worker as an individual? Or do I turn a deaf ear on employees' views, set petty work rules and always know that, in general, people are lazy, therefore, "I run this place as I see fit"?
Employee: Do I really give a full day's work for a day's pay? Am I always suspect of the "company's" motives when new ideas are introduced or do I cooperate and lend support when needed? Do I ask for increased pay because I have contributed to increased production or just because "I deserve it"?
Investor: Do I realize the importance of this rebuilding period and am I willing to accept a little less in the short term while placing faith in the long-term outlook? Or do I give management one year to achieve big bottom-line profits — if not, "throw the rascals out"?
Government employee: Do I do all I can to provide good services at least cost to the taxpayer? Or do I build an empire and create a paper blizzard to protect my job?
It is time to dedicate ourselves to revitalizing the economic strength of this country. We have the resources — our great people — and the freedom of opportunity to get this done.
Let us forge a new relationship among us all based on increased individual effort, mutual trust and understanding, in the spirit of unity as reflected in our country's name.
We must rid ourselves of these adversary roles, for if we continue to plan separately we will surely fail together.