Fourth of July 2023: General President Coleman’s message to members

July 4, 2023

Brothers and Sisters,

Happy Fourth of July from myself and the SMART General Executive Council. Wherever you are across the country, I hope you are able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor with friends and family.

This is an exciting Independence Day for our union. Our efforts over the past several years are starting to pay off, and we are now in a time of unprecedented opportunities.

Public and private infrastructure projects are breaking ground across the country, putting SMART members to work in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, New York and well beyond. The strong labor standards tied to federal funding on both current and future projects will help create thousands of sheet metal jobs for our members – plus, local unions still have ongoing core work. It is a good time to be a union sheet metal worker.

In the transportation sector, SMART-TD members are finally beginning to see progress on battles we have been fighting for years. Two-person crews are now the law of the land in Ohio, Kansas and Minnesota, and the federal Railway Safety Act continues to move forward in the United States Senate. We are also seeing major projects break ground related to Amtrak infrastructure. These projects will put sheet metal members to work on jobs that will benefit transportation members’ working conditions.

I want to thank every single member who hit the pavement to make these gains, whether you got out the vote last election, called your elected representatives to tell them to vote for rail safety or simply showed up at your local union meeting to get involved. YOU are the reason we are in this position.

Now, let’s take advantage. This is our time to act, to make sure we continue our forward momentum. The influx of sheet metal work is creating enormous demand – now is the time to organize and recruit across all communities to strengthen our union and grow our collective bargaining power. For our railroaders and transit operators, momentum and media attention are on our side. Let’s seize this opportunity to educate our friends, neighbors, communities and lawmakers, and finally win the safety and job protections we deserve.

All the gains we have made are a result of the core values of unionism: solidarity, equality, freedom, democracy. These are principles we hold dear – as union members, and as Americans. This Independence Day, we honor the generations of Americans who have given the ultimate sacrifice to uphold those principles and maintain our independence. Your bravery will never be forgotten.

Once again, happy Fourth of July – please stay safe, and enjoy the holiday.