Fourth of July 2024: General President Coleman’s message to members

July 4, 2024

Brothers, sisters and friends, 

On behalf of myself and the SMART General Executive Council, I’d like to wish all of you a very happy Fourth of July. No matter where you are or how you’re observing the holiday, I hope all of you can take the time to relax with family and friends and enjoy the well-deserved fruits of your labor.

Independence Day is more than just a day marking the birth of our nation; it’s a celebration of the principles that define us. And within both SMART and the labor movement, the founding ideas of our nation are the very same as the values that we hold dear. Freedom. Democracy. Solidarity with our fellow workers — no matter who they are, what they believe, where they come from.   

In our union, whether you work on the railroad, in public transportation, as a sheet metal worker, in manufacturing or beyond, we live out those values on a daily basis. When sheet metal workers construct the battery plants powering our union’s future, they are serving our country’s next generation. When production workers build commercial HVAC units for hospitals, office buildings and schools, they are helping keep families across our nation safe. When railroaders transport freight from one corner of the country to the other, they literally keep our economy moving. And when our bus and transit workers welcome passengers on board, they are ensuring that their fellow Americans make it wherever they need to be — work, school, home, you name it.

I’m so proud to be your union brother. You are the people who build, move and maintain our nation. And as we look ahead, we all have a further role to play in securing our country’s future.

It’s no secret that the last few years have been extraordinarily eventful ones for SMART. Laws that have been passed since 2021 are starting to impact our industries, leading to huge projects in Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Idaho and well beyond. Our railroaders just won a massive victory with the Federal Railroad Administration’s recently announced two-person crew regulation. And pro-union appointees in the federal government have implemented policies that benefit our union, including updating prevailing wage regulations.

So this Independence Day, as you reflect on the progress we’ve made, I hope you’ll also join me in committing to the progress ahead. Let’s organize. Let’s bring new members into our union. Let’s vote for pro-union lawmakers this November. And let’s continue to stand together, in strong solidarity, to win the pay, benefits and protections that we all deserve.

I’d like to close by paying tribute to the generations of Americans who have given the ultimate sacrifice to uphold our freedoms and maintain our independence. Your courage will never be forgotten.

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