Die hard laborers work on Labor Day

By Justin Boron

For some Labor Day is a break. But for Mandy Harbin it's just another day to dirty up her hands with grease while she repairs cars at her auto shop, Tires by Mandy.

Harbin is part of a small minority of people who adhere to the daily grind despite the national observation of laborers.

As the masses head toward parks and sit through television marathons today, a small collection of laborers will show up at police departments, firehouses, restaurants, and markets across the county to put in a hard days work.

The three mechanics at Tires for Mandy will not have the luxury of going shopping and eating at picnics. Instead, they will have wrenches in their hand working up a sweat amid the exhaust fumes floating in from Tara Boulevard.

Even though they are working while so many others are not, there are some advantages, Harbin said.

"Business is better since everyone has the day off," she said.

Harbin said she keeps her auto repair shop open because Labor Day presents an opportunity to pull in customers who may have no other place to go for a tire change.

The potential customers are more likely to come in because they don't need their cars to get to work, she said.

A similar spike in sales occurs in restaurants and caterers that stay open to satisfy eager picnickers looking to stock up on chicken and potato salad.

The workers at John's Fine Foods said they would be serving as usual.

Waitresses and servers also are part of the group who do not usually take Labor Day off.

April and Deniene Haney will form a mother-daughter duo at the Lovejoy Waffle House as they serve travelers coming in off Ga. Highway 19/41.

They said the 24/7 diner sees a sharp rise in business since it is one of the few restaurants open in the area.

"We keep an extra waitress on to help out," Deniene Haney said.

"It bothers me that I have to work on a holiday, but we get to make a little extra money in tips," she said.

Public safety officers like police and firefighters don't ever skip Labor Day Monday either.

The need for police on national holidays increases with the barrage of travelers coming and going through county, said Morrow Police Chief Charlie Sewell.

The Morrow Police Department ensures that it will have a full staff by prohibiting annual leave, he said.

The county police also said they would operating at a full staff, but that their traffic unit may be working extended hours into the night.

"They'll be working the evening hours out looking for drunk drivers," said Capt. Jeff Turner, the public information officer for Clayton County Police Department.