A glossary of terms for both the sheet metal and transportation are available for new members to orient themselves with their industry.  You can find it at this QR Code.  [insert qr code]

SHEET METAL Glossary of Terms

Airflow Volume:  This is the amount of air circulated in a space, measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm).

Air Handler:  Indoor part of the air conditioning system, including the circulating fan and evaporator (summer) / condenser (winter) coil.

Apprentice: A person who learns a skill under a journeyperson or master craftsperson.

CAD:  An acronym for computer aided design.

Coil: The coil, or evaporator coil, is connected to the airflow outlet of the furnace. Conditioned refrigerant is circulated through the coil to cool the structure in the summer and heat it in the winter. As warm indoor air passes through the indoor or evaporator coil, temperature and humidity are removed creating cooler indoor air. Installing a correctly sized and rated evaporator coil is essential for getting the highest performance and comfort from your central air conditioning or heat pump system.

Collective Bargaining Agreement: A collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, is a contractual agreement, negotiated between employees and their employer, that establishes agreed-upon terms and conditions of employment. While CBAs can include a lot of things, the terms that are usually included are an employer and employee’s scope of work, work schedule, wages and benefits, vacation and holiday time, seniority and a grievance procedure.

This right to organize is important to working families because it puts more power to impact terms of employment into the hands of workers, who are contributing to the productivity and prosperity of their employer. A collective bargaining agreement is a benefit to both the employer and employee, as it leads to higher retention for employers, while offering a clear, mutually agreed upon agreement that spells out compensation and what one can expect during the hours they are at work.

Compressor:  A pump that increases the pressure of refrigerant gas.

Cutting: A process done by sawing, shearing, or chiseling with manual and power tools, or torching with hand-held plasma torches using CNC cutters like lasers.

Damper:  Found at the junction points of ductwork, these plates can be opened or closed to control the flow of air into a space.

Defined Benefit Plan: A defined benefit plan provides a guaranteed level of benefits on retirement.  It is typically not contributory — there are usually no employee contributions, so no individual accounts are maintained for each employee. The employer makes regular contributions to the entire plan to fund the future benefits of the entire group of participants.

The employer bears the risk associated with providing the guaranteed level of retirement benefits. Usually, the promised benefit is tied to the employee’s earnings, length of service, or both. The Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund and Sheet Metal Local Unions’ Pension Funds administer defined benefit plans, along with some TD locals engaged in collective bargaining within the private transit sector. 

Duct work:  A network of metal, fiberboard or flexible material flowing throughout a space, which delivers air from an HVAC unit to the respective zones of a home or office.

Press brake: A tool for bending sheet and plate metal.

Prevailing Wage/Davis Bacon: First passed in 1891 in Kansas, prevailing wage laws are used as they were when first passed — as a means of protecting local construction workforces from contractors who would import cheaper labor from outside a local area. Today, it protects local workers by recognizing local union and non-union wage standards.

Health and Welfare Fund: A collective fund which provides for the health benefits of the participating members. By pooling their resources together, participants can negotiate greater benefits at a lower cost than if they were to seek the same benefits individually.

Gauge:  A measurement of thickness. Standard gauges include the Galvanized Sheet Gauge (GSG), United States Standard Gauge (USS) and Birmingham Wire Gauge (BWG).

Journeyperson: Someone who has completed an accredited apprenticeship in their craft and is regularly employed in the practice of that craft.

Jurisdiction: Scope of work granted to a specific trade union. Examples include HVAC installation or air balancing.

Laser Cutting:  The use of a highly concentrated beam of light to generate enough heat to pierce and cut a metal object.

Refrigerant:  The compound (working fluid) used in air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigerators to transfer heat into or out of an interior space. This fluid boils at a very low temperature enabling it to exude and absorb heat.

Roll forming: A constant bending process in which sheet metal, coil, bar or strips of metal pass through rolls that form the metal

Salting: The process of placing union supporters on a jobsite for the purpose of advancing union organizing activity.

The Union Label: The union label was designed to provide union members and signatory contractors with the ability to identify quality products produced by union members. While SMART members are charged with installing products on the jobsite or in homes, other members work for employers who solely focus on the manufacture of those products.

Two colored labels are used:

  • Yellow — For products that were manufactured under a building trades contract.
  • Blue — For products that were manufactured under a production contract.

The union label is the union member’s guarantee that a specific product was manufactured under fair working conditions through a collective bargaining agreement.

You will find a number of products bearing these labels. The list is long, but it includes a wide range of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment such as ducts, blowers, fans, ventilators, dampers and diffusers.

Union labels are an essential tool for enforcing contracts and protecting jobs, wages and benefits. Union officials work hard to negotiate the best contracts possible, and the labels are essential to protecting those contracts. They play a central part in preventing a race to the bottom in which contractors try to use non-labeled products or pay union workers less and less.  For more information, visit or text the word LABEL to 67336 (message and data rates may apply).

Union Stewards: Every manufacturing plant and most job sites have a union steward who is one of your fellow workers. They are your contact for any concern or grievance that may arise at work. A meeting with your employer can be arranged by your union steward to address your concerns. If required, your local union business representative or chairperson can be brought into the discussion, as well as an international representative when needed.

Welding: Joining two pieces of material by applying heat, pressure or both. Sometimes this process will use a filler material and sometimes it will not. 

Youth-to-Youth Program: An apprentice organizing program where apprentices assist a local union in establishing a firm market presence to ensure the future for themselves and future workers in the sheet metal trade.

SMART TD Glossary of Terms

AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD) A coalition of 33 member unions, of which SMART TD is a member, dedicated to providing a bold voice for transportation workers in both the private and public sectors and devoted to protecting middle-class jobs, expanding collective bargaining and ensuring modern, safe and secure transportation operations and infrastructure.

Airline Pilots – Pilots have many duties including checking the overall condition of their aircraft before and after every flight, ensuring that the aircraft is balanced and below its weight limit, verifying that the fuel supply is adequate and that weather conditions are acceptable, preparing and submitting flight plans to air traffic controllers and communicating with air traffic control over the radio. During flight, it’s the job of the pilot and copilot to operate and control the aircraft along the planned route; take off and land the plane; monitor the engines, fuel consumption and any other aircraft nearby; and respond to changing conditions.

Alternate Delegate – Takes the place of a local’s delegate if the delegate is unable to attend the SMART TD and SMART conventions. (see Delegate for more information)

Alternate National Legislative Director – Handles the duties and commitments of the national legislative director (NLD) when he or she is unable to do so due to illness, scheduling conflicts, etc. 

Alternate Vice President – Elected at convention by geographic districts, they are called upon to replace vice presidents in the event of resignation, retirement or death. They also may be assigned to help in contract negotiations or other disputes.

Alumni Association – The official club of retired SMART TD members. Members are invited to join via a retirement packet sent during the first month after their retirement. Retirees may join or rejoin the association at any time after leaving active service. Cost to join is $9 per year and keeps alumni informed via an ongoing SMART TD newspaper subscription and provides other benefits and discounts.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) – Voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions representing 12.5 million workers. The AFL-CIO strives to ensure all working people are treated fairly with good paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, dignity and equal opportunities. The AFL-CIO is anchored in making sure everyone who works for a living has family-supporting wages and benefits and the ability to retire with dignity.

Article Twenty-One B (21B) – The section of the SMART Constitution that specifically governs SMART TD and its subsidiaries.

Association of American Railroads (AAR) – Umbrella entity that represents the rail carriers’ interests.

Association of General Chairpersons – Assists the Transportation Division president and staff in formulating demands relating to wages, rules and working conditions for all crafts and in handling wage and rules negotiations with employers. There are two independently functioning districts that form the Association of General Chairpersons: District No. 1, which is comprised of rail general chairpersons, and District No. 3, which is comprised of bus general chairpersons. Each district elects a chairperson, vice chairperson and a secretary when they convene quadrennially. The Transportation Division president may also convene the districts whenever deemed necessary. The main purpose of the associations is to formulate concerted movements relating to wages, rules and working conditions of transportation service employees in their district. With respect to national handling of wage-rules movements on railroads, an effort to move forward with a strike must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the members of District No. 1.

Association of State Legislative Directors – The Association of State Legislative Directors is  comprised of all directors of state legislative boards. It coordinates efforts to secure the enactment of laws and regulations, or the repeal or modification of laws and regulations, to ensure the protection and welfare of the members of SMART TD, exchanges information regarding political and legislative activities affecting SMART TD members and recommends a national legislative agenda for SMART TD.

Attrition of positions – A position that shall be eliminated when the present incumbent vacates the position for any reason.

Brakeperson – Act as an assistant to conductors and performs specific duties to assure the safe, efficient movement of trains. They apply and release hand brakes on cars, inspect wheel bearings, inspect and couple air hoses and help test air brake systems. They also check cars to make sure they are mechanically fit and assist conductors in switching cars. In passenger service, brakemen are responsible for regulating air conditioning and heat, lighting and other duties that assure passenger safety and comfort. They also make sure the train’s computer-controlled signaling devices and other automated equipment are functioning properly. They may also assist conductors in collecting fares.

Board of Appeals – Members must hold seniority in one of the crafts under the jurisdiction of the board. One from engine service, one from road service, one from yard service, one from commuter authorities, one from Bus Department and one from the Aviation Department. The board meets on the second Monday in January and July and as called upon by the SMART TD president. A majority of the board shall decide all appeals coming before it. Decisions of the board are final and binding.

Board of Directors – Consists of the Transportation Division president, national legislative director and eight transportation vice presidents, two of whom are elected from the Bus Department. The board meets on the first Tuesday in the months of April and October and when called upon by the SMART TD president to consider all matters that come before it. 

Bus Drivers/Operators – Bus operator duties vary depending on whether they drive local buses in cities and suburbs, intercity buses, long-distance buses between states, charter buses or school buses. When drivers report to terminals to get their assignments, they inspect their buses, check the fuel, oil, water and tires, and make sure safety equipment is on board. They must be able to operate at safe speeds while meeting schedules and coping with adverse road and weather conditions.

Bus Mechanics – Bus mechanics are usually employed in company garages or repair shops. They use their knowledge of tools and equipment to keep buses roadworthy and to make major repairs such as rebuilding engines and transmissions, repairing air conditioners and other overhauls.

Carperson – The carman builds, inspects and repairs rail cars, ensuring that rail cars are in compliance with all rules and regulations put forth by the railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). When there is a derailment, carmen rerail the cars and locomotives and perform other work associated with wreck service.

Conductors – The conductor is in charge of the train and crew on freight and passenger trains. They are responsible for the movement of the train according to instructions from the yardmaster, train dispatcher and others. Conductors receive and communicate train orders to other crew members. They also inspect the entire train before signaling the locomotive engineer to start moving. Conductors keep records of the contents, origin and destination of each car and see that cars are properly picked up and set out along the route. Passenger conductors collect tickets and cash fares and help passengers board and exit. Yard conductors, also known as yard foremen, direct the work of switching crews who make up and break up trains.

Cooperating Railway Labor Organizations (CRLO) – An umbrella organization which jointly administers with the carriers’ National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) the National Railroad Employees Health and Welfare Plan.

Coordinated Bargaining Coalition (CBC) – Bargaining teams from 10 unions teamed together for national freight rail negotiations with the NRLC/NCCC. The CBC is comprised of SMART TD, ATDA, BLET, BRS, IAM, IBB, SEIU NCFO, IBEW, TWU and TCU. Collectively, CBC unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers covered by the various organizations’ national agreements and comprise more than 80% of the workforce impacted by national contract negotiations.

Delegate – Each SMART TD local elects a delegate during the year preceding the quinquennial (once every five years) SMART TD general convention to represent the local at the convention and vote on behalf of the local for international representatives and constitutional changes.

Department of Labor (DOL) – The purpose of the federal Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of wage earners, job seekers and retirees in the United States and improve working conditions, advance opportunities for profitable employment and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Department of Transportation (DOT) – Created in 1967, the mission of the federal Department of Transportation is to ensure the United States has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world. The DOT is the governing body that oversees all transportation regulations in the country. Top priorities include keeping the traveling public safe and secure, increasing mobility, and having the transportation system contribute to economic growth. The DOT’s chief official is the secretary of transportation, who is nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The agency oversees the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and others.

Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) – SMART has chosen experienced and successful trial lawyers as Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) and recommends these lawyers to members and their families when a member is injured or killed on the job. These lawyers are specialists in handling Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) cases and are fully experienced in dealing with the trained railroad claim agents and railroad lawyers. DLC should be contacted at the earliest opportunity when you’ve been injured on the job, have been diagnosed with job-related illness, have cumulative job-related traumas, you’ve been in a van transport accident, or you have a whistleblower/retaliation case.

Discipline Income Protection Program (DIPP) – Provides financial support to SMART TD members who are suspended, dismissed or removed from service by a carrier for an alleged violation of rules. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – The FAA oversees the safety of civil aviation and is led by an administrator chosen by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. This federal agency’s safety mission includes the issuance and enforcement of regulations and standards related to the manufacture, operation, certification and maintenance of aircraft. The FAA is responsible for the rating and certification of airmen and for certification of airports serving air carriers.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) – Created in 1947, FMCS is an independent agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. The agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities (with the exception of railroad disputes). The bus industry relies on FMCS to mediate disputes.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – The FMCSA was established in 2000 as pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. It is overseen by an administrator chosen by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The primary mission of this federal agency is to prevent commercial vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. FMCSA works to ensure safety in motor carrier operations through enforcement of safety regulations, improving safety information systems and commercial vehicle technologies, and increasing safety awareness. To accomplish these goals, the FMCSA works with federal, state and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor safety interest groups and others.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) – The mission of the FRA is to promote safe and environmentally sound rail transportation. It is overseen by an administrator chosen by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. With the responsibility of ensuring railroad safety throughout the nation, the FRA employs safety inspectors to monitor railroad compliance with federally mandated safety standards, including track maintenance, inspection standards and operating practices. The agency conducts research and development tests to evaluate projects in support of its safety mission and to enhance the railroad system as a national transportation resource. Public education campaigns on highway-rail grade crossing safety and the danger of trespassing on rail property also are administered by the FRA.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – The FTA assists in developing improved mass transportation systems for cities and communities nationwide. It is overseen by an administrator chosen by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Through its grant programs, the FTA helps plan, build and operate transit systems with convenience, cost and accessibility in mind. While buses and rail vehicles are the most common type of public transportation, other kinds include commuter ferryboats, trolleys, inclined railways, subways, and people movers. In providing financial, technical and planning assistance, the agency provides leadership and resources for safe and technologically advanced local transit systems, while assisting in the development of local and regional traffic reduction. The FTA maintains the National Transit Library (NTL), a repository of reports, documents and data generated by professionals and others from around the country. NTL is designed to facilitate document sharing among people interested in transit and transit related topics.

Flight Attendants – The primary job of the flight attendant is to keep passengers safe, ensuring everyone follows security regulations and that the flight deck is secure. They also try to make flights comfortable and stress-free for passengers. They may also have to deal with disruptive or aggressive passengers. Before a flight takes off, flight attendants make sure that emergency equipment is working, the cabin is clean and that an adequate supply of food and beverages is on board. Flight attendants also demonstrate the proper use of safety equipment to all passengers and check to make sure that seatbelts are fastened and that luggage is properly stowed. A flight attendant’s most important responsibility is to help passengers in the event of an emergency. This responsibility ranges from dealing with unruly passengers, to performing first aid, fighting fires, protecting the flight deck and directing evacuations.

General Chairperson (GC) – Union general chairpersons head general committees of adjustment (GCAs). They handle all claims, grievances and disciplinary matters for a region or employer, with authority to make and interpret contracts on work rules and pay rates. They also negotiate with management on a regional or systemic level. 

General Committee of Adjustment (GCA or GO) – The officers of a GCA shall be a general chairperson, one or more vice chairpersons and a secretary. The officers of a GCA must hold seniority rights in one of the crafts under the jurisdiction of the GCA. The chairperson of each local committee of adjustment (LCA) under the jurisdiction of the GCA shall be a member of the general committee of adjustment. Each GCA may adopt bylaws and procedures, establish salaries, set committee dues amounts and other matters necessary for operation.

General Committee of Adjustment Dues – This amount is established by the general committee of adjustment (GCA) to generate funds to take care of members’ interests on individual properties. The amount paid differs from property to property. The rate is set by the local chairpersons who are under the jurisdiction of the GCA.

Gold Card, aka Life Membership Card – Retired or totally disabled members who have 20 years’ continuous membership will receive a gold card indicating life membership in the SMART TD. Such members shall be entitled to attend local meetings.

Grievance – Grievances must be in writing and contain complete information on the subject matter and be submitted to the local committee of adjustment (LCA) holding jurisdiction. Grievances involving violations of the contract agreement, reinstatement, safety or health and welfare shall be given prompt handling with local officials of the employer.

Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) – This act guarantees certain rights to union members and imposes certain responsibilities on union officers. 

Local Board of Trustees – The local board of trustees shall supervise the financial affairs of the local. Upon approval by the local, the board shall have the authority to rent, lease or purchase property, office equipment and other necessary supplies. The board shall also assure that the treasurer and other local officers are bonded. The board shall meet in January of each year for the purpose of auditing the annual report of the treasurer and verifying bank balances and cash on hand. 

Local Chairperson – The local chairperson presides over the local committee of adjustment (LCA). It is the duty of the chairperson to promptly handle claims and grievances when presented. They are authorized to file claims and grievances, including those where time has not been claimed, or where claims were incorrectly filed. The local chairperson shall represent the local at meetings of the general committee of adjustment (GCA). They are also eligible to run for office on the GCA.

Local Committee of Adjustment (LCA) – Each local shall elect a local committee of adjustment, consisting of a chairperson, one or more vice chairpersons and a secretary. Additional LCAs may be formed to represent members on a separate seniority district or when employed by a separate craft represented by the local. Committeepersons must hold seniority rights in one of the crafts under the jurisdiction of the LCA. 

Local Committee of Adjustment (LCA) Dues – These dues are devoted to providing representation and protecting you and your job at the local level when your livelihood is at risk. The dues amount is set by a vote of the members of the LCA.

Local Dues – Local dues support the cost of operating the local, such as the wages of officers, rent, supplies and other expenses. The dues amount is set by a vote of the members of the local.

Local Legislative Representatives – The local legislative representative shall attend all meetings of their state legislative board (SLB). They shall report to their locals regarding the handling of all alleged unsafe or unsanitary working conditions found to exist, or reported to them, within their jurisdiction and shall undertake to correct such conditions through appropriate measures consistent with local and national policies. If unable to correct the condition, a report is to be made to the SMART TD president’s department and the national legislative director regarding federal matters, as well as to the state legislative director. They shall also encourage all members to vote in all elections.

Local Past President – When a local president has completed their term of office and a successor has been installed, they shall become the ranking past president of the local and shall serve as such until succeeded. The past president shall install the officers of the local and, in the absence of the president and vice president, preside at local meetings.

Local President – The local president shall preside over all meetings of the local, enforce the provisions of the SMART Constitution and the bylaws of the local, and exercise general supervision over local affairs. The president may not vote except in the case of a tie vote, in which case the president shall cast the deciding ballot.

Local Secretary – The local secretary shall keep an accurate record of all proceedings, receive all communications, conduct correspondence and shall have charge of the seal and records of the local. The secretary shall perform the duties of the treasurer in locals that do not provide for the separation of the offices of secretary and treasurer (S&T).

Local Treasurer – The local treasurer shall receive all money due to be collected by the local and give receipt for the same. The treasurer shall hold and keep secure all local funds and shall be bonded. They shall keep an accurate account of all receipts and expenditures of the local and these records shall be open at all times for inspection and audit by officers of the international or their representatives. The treasurer shall serve on all local committees that receive or disburse money.

Local Vice President – The local vice president shall assist the local president in the discharge of their duties and preside at meetings in the absence of the president. He or she shall appoint a minority of all committees, and if the president’s office becomes vacant, shall take over the responsibilities of the president for the remainder of the term.

Locomotive Engineer – Engineers control the starting and stopping of a train, as well as the train’s speed. They constantly check meters and gauges that show speed, fuel, power and air pressure. In the yard and on the road, they watch for signals that indicate movements of other trains, obstacles on the track, equipment malfunctions and speed limits. They keep in radio contact with dispatchers and their co-workers on the train.

Maintenance of Way Employees (MOW) – The people who keep tracks, switches, bridges, yards and other rail facilities in good repair. They operate equipment to prepare roadbeds, dig ditches, repair and replace ties, and weld, align and replace rails. They also repair and replace highway crossings, grind switches and track to compensate for wear, repair switch heaters, control vegetation along rights-of-way, repair track lubricators and replace worn track spikes. 

National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) – The designated bargaining unit of railroad carriers in national bargaining. The NCCC includes BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and U.S. railroads owned by Canadian National. The NCCC is chaired by the chair of the National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) and includes senior labor relations executives of the carriers.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – The NLRB works to assure fair labor practices and workplace democracy nationwide. It is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The NLRB also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions. The board protects the rights of most private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions.

National Legislative Director (NLD) – The national legislative director devotes their efforts to secure the enactment, modification or repeal of laws in accordance with the legislative policy of the organization. This person handles all legislative matters referred to them by the President of the Transportation Division. The NLD shall handle, with the proper agents of the federal government, all alleged violations of federal law, as brought to their attention, which involve the safety and welfare of SMART TD members covered by such law. The NLD represents the Transportation Division before federal agencies and congressional committees.

National Legislative Office – SMART TD has one of the most extensive legislative organizations in the labor movement, with a national legislative director, alternate national legislative director and staff headquartered in Washington, D.C. In the United States, 49 of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legislative boards made up of local legislative representatives and headed by a director. This efficient legislative organization allows SMART TD to mount effective, coordinated campaigns at the federal and state levels. Among the important laws passed or amended because of SMART TD action are the Railway Labor Act, the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, the Railroad Retirement Act, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the Federal Hours of Service Act, the Rail Safety Act, the Motor Carrier Safety Act and the Mass Transportation Act.

National Mediation Board (NMB) – Established by the 1934 amendments to the Railway Labor Act (RLA) of 1926, the NMB is an independent U.S. federal government agency that facilitates labor-management relations within the nation’s railroad and airline industries. Pursuant to the RLA, the NMB programs provide dispute resolution processes to effectively meet its statutory objectives: avoiding interruption to commerce or to the operation of any carrier; forbidding any limitation upon freedom of association among employees; providing for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions; and providing for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes growing out of grievances related to the implementation and management of collective bargaining agreements. The NMB is headed by a three-member board nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

National Railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB) – NRAB is a grievance arbitration tribunal authorized under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to arbitrate any minor disputes in the railroad industry. The NRAB decides any cases that do not go to special boards of adjustments or public law boards, as well as any appeals from those arbitration tribunals’ decisions.

National Railroad Employees Health and Welfare Plan – Provides collectively bargained health care benefits to rail employees and their families.

National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC) – An association of all U.S. Class I freight railroads and many smaller freight passenger lines. The NRLC, through its NCCC, represents most of its members in national negotiations with the 12 major rail labor organizations. In addition to national bargaining, the NRLC represents the railroads in the administration of industry-wide health and welfare plans, on rail labor issues before federal agencies and congressional committees, and in labor arbitration cases. 

National Safety Team (NST) – The SMART TD NST assists National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators in ascertaining facts relating to accidents.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) – The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States, as well as significant accidents in other modes of transportation of goods or people, including railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, NTSB carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members impacted by major transportation disasters.

Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) – A part of the Department of Labor (DOL), the OLMS enforces many Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) provisions.

Operation Lifesaver (OLI) – The only national non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives with free rail safety education presentations in communities throughout the United States. OLI is committed to preventing collisions, injuries and fatalities on and around railroad tracks and highway-rail grade crossings.

Operation RedBlock – Operation RedBlock is a union-initiated and management-supported program that uses peer involvement to prevent employee use of alcohol and/or drugs when on duty or subject to call.

Palmetto GBA – Palmetto GBA is the Railroad Specialty Medicare Administrative Contractor (RRB SMAC) and processes Part B claims for Railroad Retirement beneficiaries nationwide. Palmetto GBA is contracted by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), an independent federal agency which administers comprehensive retirement-survivor and unemployment-sickness benefit programs for railroad workers and their families under the Railroad Retirement (RRA) and Railroad Unemployment Insurance (RRUIA) Acts.

President Transportation Division – The executive head of the Transportation Division. This person oversees the general supervision of transportation affairs and interests, including all Transportation Division subordinate bodies and SMART TD office staff in Cleveland. It is the responsibility of the TD president division to interpret Article Twenty-One B (21B) of the SMART Constitution.

Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) – An independent federal agency which administers comprehensive retirement-survivor and unemployment-sickness benefit programs for railroad workers and their families under the Railroad Retirement (RRA) and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts (RUIA).

Rail Safety Task Force – The SMART Rail Safety Task Force works with general chairpersons, state legislative directors, local officers and members to develop safe practices and techniques to improve situational awareness in rail yards and road operations.

Railway Labor Act (RLA) – The Railway Labor Act is the culmination of over a century of experience with federal legislation governing labor relations of employers and employees engaged in the rail industry. Its primary purpose is to promote and maintain peace and order in those relations as a means of avoiding interruptions in interstate commerce. Congress developed a comprehensive policy for dealing with transportation labor problems. The RLA imposes positive duties on both carriers and employees alike, defines the rights of the parties and makes provisions for the protection of such rights. The RLA also prescribes methods of settling various types of disputes and sets up agencies for adjusting differences.

Remote Control Operator (RCO) – The RCO is responsible for the safe movement of the engine and/or cars in carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities in a rail yard. This includes the proper inspection of the locomotive prior to the start of their tour of duty and the inspection of cars and other equipment to assure that there are no defects that could result in unsafe working conditions, damage to the track, the car or its contents. Additionally, RCOs properly align switches to move cars and locomotives from one track to another and must couple and uncouple cars.

SMART TD Diversity & Inclusion Committee (D&IC) – In 2000, a team of SMART TD members and SMART TD international employees was chosen to make up the SMART TD Human Rights Committee (HRC) – now the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&IC) – to ensure that every voice within the organization is heard and respected.

SMART TD Political Action Committee (SMART TD PAC or TD PAC) – The TD PAC relies solely on voluntary contributions of members. Contributions are used to provide financial assistance to the campaigns of federal and state candidates who will work to pass legislation that protects and promotes rail, transit, bus and air issues of importance to SMART TD and its membership.

SMART Transportation Division Auxiliary – The auxiliary’s purpose is to unite SMART TD families; educate members on rail, bus, transit and aviation industries and issues; provide a forum for TD families to meet and exchange information; and to become active in legislative issues affecting the jobs of TD members. Benefits of membership include resources, scholarships and discounts via Union Plus.

SMART Transportation Division News (TD News) – The official publication of the SMART Transportation Division, issued on a bimonthly basis and furnished to all active members and Alumni Association members. An archive of the newspaper is available at

State Legislative Board Dues – The amount of dues that goes to operate the state legislative board. It is set by a vote of local legislative representatives, who are members of the board. This legislative fund protects members on the state level by promoting policies and programs that deal with on-the-job safety and sanitation, and many other job-related problems. These funds are not used to assist political candidates.

Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA) working group – A coordinated effort with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), carriers and labor organizations to develop safe practices that reduce fatalities and career-ending injuries in yard switching operations.

Transportation Division Convention – This convention immediately precedes the quinquennial SMART Convention. It is when new international Transportation Division officers are elected and changes to Article Twenty-One B (21B) of the SMART Constitution are voted upon.

Transportation Division Dues – Amount set at the SMART TD Convention for the administration of the TD headquarters. This amount is split among six funds: convention fund, General Fund, Maintenance of Membership Fund, Public Relations Fund, Strike Fund and the Education and Training Fund. 

United Transportation Union (UTU) – Founded in 1969 when four international rail labor organizations merged. UTU is the immediate predecessor union of SMART TD.

United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA) – UTUIA is a Fraternal Benefit Society owned by its members. UTUIA has evolved to provide insurance and financial products to meet members’ needs. Individuals who are directly or indirectly engaged in the transportation Industry, or in one or more other crafts of hazardous occupations in the same or similar line of business are eligible for membership. The UTUIA scholarship program provides members, their children and grandchildren with financial assistance for college or trade schools.

Vice Local Chairperson – The vice local chairperson serves on the local committee of adjustment (LCA). It is their duty to handle matters referred to the local committee when so directed by the chairperson. The vice chairperson shall act as chairperson when the chairperson is unable to perform their duties, and in the case of a permanent vacancy in the office, they shall act as chairperson until the office is filled. If a local chairperson is unable to attend a meeting of the general committee, then the vice chairperson shall attend the meeting and represent their local. 

Vice President – Maintaining headquarters in various areas of the U.S., act as field agents, carrying out contract or grievance resolution or other assignments as directed by the President, Transportation Division

Vice President – Bus Department – These vice presidents handle the affairs of the SMART TD Bus Department, including overseeing negotiations on wages and working conditions for SMART TD-represented bus operators, mechanics and related occupations. 

Voluntary Disability Plan (VDP) aka Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance (VLTD) – VDP insurance helps protect your income if you suddenly have to stop working due to an accident or illness. It helps to ensure that you can continue to pay your bills and provide for your family if you are no longer able to work.

Voluntary Short-Term Disability Insurance (VSTD) – Available to all bus and rail members, the plan provides a basic safety net of coverage should you have a short-term disability or illness.

Weingarten Rights – Guarantees an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview. In 1975, the Supreme Court upheld the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that held that Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act was violated if the employer requires the employee to submit to an investigatory interview and denies the employee’s request for union representation.

Yardmasters – Yardmasters are the traffic controllers of rail yards and terminals. Using computers and supervising switching equipment in the yard tower, they route trains and engines within the yard. The yardmaster reads switching orders and schedules to determine the time trains will arrive or depart, the sequence of movement and the routing of trains onto tracks. They receive and transmit switching orders to and from yard crews and also supervise clerical staff in the yard offices.

Your Track to Health (YTTH) – YTTH is a one-stop-shop and guide to understanding your railroad health plan and coverage benefits.