My Union Family

Ashley guest blog

By guest blogger Ashley Beard-Fosnow

I did not grow up in an Union family. In fact, when I met my husband Clint ten years ago the only thing I knew about Unions was what I gleaned from the Disney film, “The Newsies.” Since our fateful meeting, Clint has educated me on his job as an Ironworker, collective bargaining, and the Labor Movement. I have witnessed firsthand all of the benefits of being a member of a Union family.

Clint is paid a living wage which is enough to provide for our family of five. We have wonderful health insurance which allows us to take our kids to the doctor when they are ill. Clint contributes to his Union retirement every week so that one day he will be able to retire with modest dignity. Thanks to the Union regulated safety standards and apprentice training, my husband does his incredibly dangerous job with as little risk as possible. We lead a simple, but happy life. I credit so much of our good fortune to my husband’s Union membership. We believe that all working class families should have the right to organize and have the opportunities that we enjoy. We feel a connection and obligation to the Union community – we’re all in this together!

We have three small children. As they have gotten older, it’s been important to us to “practice what we preach” in reference to living a lifestyle in solidarity with the Labor Movement and other Union families. We aim to live the Union Values we teach our children – be fair, share, stick together, be safe, etc. We believe one of the best ways to support other Union workers is to buy as many Union made products as possible while sticking to our tiny food and household budget. Each week, I compare the sale items in the grocery store and CVS ads to Labor 411’s directory of Union made products. I try to reward companies who build the middle class with our patronage. Labor 411 is an amazing resource. I would not be much of a conscientious consumer without it.

Recently, my children chose to attend their first labor rally where we stood with striking fast food workers in Kansas City. It was a wonderful experience for our family. Clint and I used it as an opportunity to discuss current labor issues with our kids and meet other like-minded families.  My greatest wish for my kids is that they grow up to be concerned, involved citizens. I hope they identify themselves as members of the Labor family and use the benefits of that association to make the world a better place.

Stay tuned for posts about Ashley’s ideas for teaching Union values to children and running a labor friendly household on Labor 411 Blog. Ashley Beard-Fosnow is a Missouri housewife and mother of three. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of MO-KC. She loves books, organization in all things, and the thrill of a good deal. She does not love cleaning, diapers, or elaborate cooking. She also writes a Union-themed mommy blog at

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