This week’s blog is very short because of the Thanksgiving holiday but the holiday does present some good lessons for current times and employers and workers.
The Pilgrims left England for freedom of religion , and in many ways, freedom of speech since basic life at that time centered around religion. Their lives, not too different from some of the immigrants coming to America today, were threatened by authoritative rulers for not abiding by the religious doctrine.
The investors who were willing to provide support to the Pilgrims expected a quick return for that support, not too much different than today as shareholders expect financial rewards for their investment. The Pilgrims were expected to work hard and when it was thought they weren’t producing enough, received less support which made early life in America even more difficult. Luckily, though, they had assistance.
The Native Americans of the area, the Wampanoags, had their share of problems. A severe disease that had been spread throughout some of their villages by earlier Europeans had wiped out many of their people and the Wampanoags were concerned about their ability to survive, especially against more aggressive tribes. The chief of the Wampanoags, Massasoit, knew the Pilgrims were also having difficulty in surviving so he sent a messenger to the Pilgrims to see if they could work together. Despite their differences, the two groups were able to focus on their mutual concern of survival to work together and overcome their differences. Just as we encourage labor and management to do the same, this provides a very early American example of how it works. Although the groups are entirely different than labor-management groups, the principle of the agreement between the two groups is very much the same. The Wampanoags helped the Pilgrims with planting and hunting that would provide food for the Pilgrims but also help them to provide a return for investors. The Pilgrims provided that additional manpower for the Wampanoags.
This next week, CALMC will be hosting a breakfast meeting for labor, management and other interested parties. Our speakers will be from opposing political parties but their topic is one of mutual interest to both labor and management. The topic is about upcoming state and federal legislation that could impact the two groups and the workplace.
Interesting as it is, opposing sides can actually work together and we are thankful for that! More on our upcoming meeting another time. Go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/pilgrims/player to learn more about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.