Writes thank you letters to union, Republicans who voted ‘No’ on RTW
By TIM ROWDEN
Clayton Bruner, the son of Laborers' Local 110 member Mark Bruner, recently received the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council scholarship and a Local 110 scholarship.
Between classes at Missouri State University in Springfield, he wrote a letter to his father’s union:
“I wanted to take the time to send you a short thank you note to let you know my appreciation for all the union (Laborers' Local 110) does for me. I am thankful that you value the importance of higher education and feel very fortunate to benefit from that. I know that it is through my father’s work under the union that I have gotten the financial support for my college career. I also, over Christmas break, sent thank you letters to show my appreciation to the Missouri Representatives that crossed party ideas and voted no on the right-to-work legislation recently. This was an important victory for my father and the unions, and I did not want it to go unmentioned because I know the fight is not over.”
Clayton, 19, is a sophomore at Missouri State, majoring in mathematics.
He understands what union wages and benefits have done for his family and he gets upset with legislators who want to take that away.
“I went to a Town Hall meeting with my dad and the representative there, Marsha Haefner (R-St. Louis), didn’t really want to talk about her right-to-work vote," he said. "I was concerned about that. It concerned my dad, too, because he’s a hardworking union member.”
When the House of Representatives upheld Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of last year’s right-to-work measure, Clayton took it upon himself to write to each of the 20 Republican legislators who stood with Missouri working families in sustaining Gov. Nixon’s veto. Their actions, crossing party lines to vote with Democrats against the measure, helped ensure its defeat.
“I felt compelled to write to the 20 representatives because I was grateful for that, and benefitted my family,” Clayton said.
Here’s a sample of Clayton’s letter to the representatives:
“I am writing to you to sincerely thank you for supporting working families (like mine) and voting No on the right-to-work legislation recently. My father works hard and earns an honest wage. It is because of his union that he has been able to raise a family of four and give me the opportunity to higher education.”
The letter continues: “Right-to-work proponents are only big corporate interests that pretend to argue for some fictitious worker that wants to go non-union. I appreciate that you support Missouri workers and realize that this bill would only push down all wages in the trades and, more importantly, make for dangerous working conditions
“I understand economic times are tough and you are faced with tough decisions, but this is the right decision. It will not help Missouri economically and will only benefit large corporations who wish to pay people less for their labor. Studies confirm that right-to-work states earn lower wages not just for union members but for all employees in the state. When unions are weakened by this corporate greed legislation, all the state’s workers feel the impact.
“Thank you again for your support, and I hope that the workers of Missouri and my family can count on you to continue to good fight for us all.”
WHAT THE UNION
MEANS TO HIM
Clayton demonstrates a real world understanding of the benefits of union wages and benefits.
“The union makes sure my dad is paid fair wages and because of that I was able to attend a private high school and receive scholarships, and have good insurance policies and good dental.
I had chipped teeth and braces as a kid, and that was all paid for because I had good insurance through the union.”
In high school, Clayton said, he tore his ACL playing lacrosse and football and had to have surgery and six months of rehabilitation.
“If my dad wasn’t in the union I probably wouldn't’ have had all six months of rehabilitation,” he said. “I’m better now, and I can run competitively and recreationally. I know I probably wouldn’t have had that without the union.”
As his letter to the legislators demonstrates, Clayton is more than grateful. He’s willing to take action to protect what his father and fellow union members have worked so hard to achieve.
“I just believe that we should represent the people,” Clayton said. “Marsha Haefner represents Oakville, and I really don’t think that it was right for her to help pass that right-to-work bill. I just think our politicians should represent the people and do what’s fair.
“My dad worries a lot about his retirement plan, and he’s not the only one, because they’ve worked so hard for so many years and they deserve a fair retirement. I just feel we should do what’s right.”