Let’s Organize the Unorganized

September 17, 2010

By Richard Ross
Former SMART TD Director of Organizing

The SMART Transportation Division has a long history of representing transportation workers — fighting on their behalf for better job security, and improved wages, benefits and working conditions.
We have consistently handled more claims before various tribunals under the Railway Labor Act, the National Labor Relations Act, state laws, and in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, than other, much larger unions.
SMART TD has a proven track record of negotiating and defending superior labor agreements in the airline, bus, railroad and transit industries.
Our national and state legislative offices pride themselves in helping to elect labor-friendly lawmakers and gaining legislation and regulations that improve workplace safety.
In organizing, we offer those same services to those that wish to become SMART TD members, and we do so expecting little in return.
Organizing leads to a special bond with our new members — a bond they soon come to recognize as they experience union brothers and sisters helping union brothers and sisters.
Organizing is not just the process through which we mechanically recruit new members to the union, but involves mutually helping our brothers and sisters grow in their knowledge of SMART TD — our proud history, our affiliation with the AFL-CIO, our respect for and guarantee of craft autonomy, and our superior collective bargaining agreements and ability to defend them.
As furloughed employees are recalled, many of whom had little time in the job after hiring on, each of us bears a responsibility as a caring brother and sister to share our knowledge of collective bargaining, grievance handling, safety programs and legislative initiatives.
This demonstrates SMART TD’s efforts on their behalf and reveals to each new member that we personally care about each other — that by working together we can make our union family stronger as we collectively pursue greater job security, higher wages, improved benefits and better working conditions.
SMART TD President John Previsich has placed an emphasis on organizing the unorganized, and SMART TD organizers recently have brought hundreds of airline, bus and rail workers into the SMART TD.
To contact a SMART TD organizer, or learn more about SMART TD organizing, log onto the SMART TD webpage at smart-union.org/td/ and click on “TD Organizing” in the blue navigation bar near the top of the page.
This is an excellent time to educate our newer members in union democracy, the benefits and strengths of craft autonomy and the many resources SMART TD has available every day to members.
Organizing is integral to a core value of the SMART TD: “In Unity there is Strength.”
Within SMART TD, “solidarity” is more than a catch phrase. It is a way of life.