FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS....

For more than 50 years, he served as a delegate, representative, and union activist in our area. His years of wear and tear and stress on his body from decades of running, hours tolling in his garden, and a tremendous amount of time as an activist in the labor movement first at his local and then in the broader labor movement, took a toll on his body but not his passion, spirit or determination to continue his work until a fitting leader could be cultivated and gain the experience needed to take his place.

Toward the end of his career with labor, he wore braces on his ankles and feet to prevent his toes from dropping causing him to fall if he was not careful. He walked leaning forward with those long arms of his swinging wildly to help him keep his balance but he continued on. He arrived early for meetings and events like the CLC Meetings on the 3rd floor of the Labor Temple to allow him the time to climb those stairs we all called our stress test. He climbed those stairs with his arms outreached and a hand on the railings of each side of the stairwell helping him to pull himself up those stairs. Each landing offered him the opportunity to stop and take a breather as he allowed those of us following to pass him by never forgetting to thank us for coming.

This tall thin man commanded the room when he walked in, not just because of his size, but because his work had earned him the respect and admiration of the members, union leaders, community leaders and elected officials in our area and beyond. He was an eloquent speaker with a silver tongue that passionately spoke to and in support of labor. He truly was the face of labor in Erie County.

He served on the boards of many, many community service organizations. He was a loving husband, an amazing father, and papa. He loved his family dearly, including his extended union family.

On Saturday, August 15, 2020, surrounded by his loving family, Pasquale Joseph (Pat) Bruno died at the age of 81.

 For more than 50 years, Pat was a delegate to the Erie-AFL-CIO, 42 of those years but not all consecutive, Pat served as President.  His advocacy, leadership, and ability to use that silver tongue to inspire and rally the members of organized labor not just to fight for the issue of the day but for the survival of our labor movement, will be shared in the stories of those who knew Pat.

I would like to share a snippet of his most inspirational conversation with me. During a rather lengthy conversation, he said and I am paraphrasing, …The only thing that will kill the labor movement is the apathy and inaction of the members who benefit from it. We need to be actively engaged with our members and organizations in our communities and speak regularly with our legislators and hold them accountable for their votes …... We need to make sure our members are registered to vote, educate them about the candidates, and turn them out to vote… This was part of a conversation when I was trying to get out of working on the Saturday, Labor to Labor Program, needless to say, I was there.

Pat retired in the early 2000s, but this snowbird (living part of his time in Florida) still worked behind the scenes encouraging union members and leaders.

We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.