My name is Ashley and I am a housewife. I live in Missouri with my husband and three babies. My husband, Clint, is an Ironworker and I love to brag to anyone I meet that he is a member of the Ironworkers Local 10. Before we met, my knowledge of organized labor was based exclusively on the Disney film “The Newsies.” Over the last 10 years, Clint has filled me in on a lot of the details.
As member of a Union family, I have experienced all the benefits of the association and literally thank God everyday for Clint’s union. He works long days doing grueling work. Every morning, I pack his lunch and set out his sunscreen, but what really keeps him protected throughout the day are the safety standards enforced on the job and education he received as an apprentice in the Union.
While he is at work, I tend the children, take them to doctor’s appointments, clean our house, take the car in to have the oil changed, grocery shop, cook meals for our family, etc. We go without a lot of the “wants” of the world—I coupon like crazy, we don’t have cable, we shop at garage sales and thrift stores—but Clint is able to provide for a family of five without going into debt or accepting government assistance because his union bargained for him to earn a living wage.
Clint has been saving for retirement for 18 years because he’s in a union. We can afford to take our kids to the doctor because his insurance through Local 10 is great. Thanks to the labor movement, Clint’s usual workday is only eight hours, which means I get him on a few hours of R&R each evening before going to bed, waking up, and doing it again.
Ironworkers dangle—usually from great heights—to weld steel for buildings and other erections, all while wearing belts and harnesses so heavy I can’t lift them.
Ironworkers are American Heroes. They have built all of the iconic structures in the country. They make bridges safe. At great personal danger, they worked in the recovery after 9/11.
I could go on and on.
At home family is always number one. With the Ironworkers at Clint’s company—it’s the same. They are family. They all look out for one another at work and off the job.
Clint fell and sustained a serious neck injury that left him unable to work for several months. His co-workers pooled a fund to send us for Christmas that year. I bawled my eyes out with gratitude at the time, but it’s just what you do when you’re part of a family. Now we feel so fortunate to be able to pay it forward to others in need.
Today, the Labor Movement is one of my passions. In addition to being my husband’s biggest cheerleader, I love being a part of a cause that brings working class families together to increase the quality of life for everyone. Union values are synonymous with what we teach our children at home: work hard, stick together, be nice, share, be safe.
The Labor movement is our lifestyle because it has blessed our family in so many ways. I am passionate about organizing as many workers as possible so that every working family can enjoy the same quality of life. God bless working class families—we’re all in this together!