It’s not the “evil corporations” versus the “union thugs.”

That’s silly.

This Labor Day, let’s drop the insults and instead focus on the common goals business leaders and their many employees share.

And let’s honor all of Wisconsin’s and America’s hard-working people — those in unions and the many more who are not organized.

Change is the only option for most companies and workers in the global, knowledge-based economy of the future. And adapting to new technology and increasing competition around the world poses challenges.

Yet some simple truths should help guide the way.

Companies that treat their employees well are much more likely to keep and attract talent. And that will help those businesses to succeed and expand over the long haul.

Workers and unions that are flexible and willing to re-train for the future are much more likely to reap rewards for their efforts. They’re much more likely to keep their jobs and land better jobs while earning more money and security.

More jobs — good jobs that support families — are needed as the United States struggles and strives to grow its economy after a deep and difficult recession.

Walling off America to foreign competition isn’t the answer. Nor is it even possible, given the light speed of communication. Companies and customers buy and sell from all over the world with the click of a key on their computers or mobile phones.

Standing still with the status quo won’t cut it.

Workers need more training and education to stay ahead. Employers need to invest more in knowledge, technology, research and development.

The challenge to create and sustain more of the high-paying jobs that everyone — management and labor — want in America won’t be easy.

Yet cooperation between workers and employers on shared goals will surely get us where we need to go faster.

We all want a strong middle class. We all want an opportunity society that rewards hard work and good ideas with prosperity.

This Labor Day shouldn’t be a shouting match. It should truly be a celebration, a time to recommit to working together for the good of our nation and to strengthen the economy.

Happy Labor Day!

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