Our time, our opportunity

October 16, 2023

The rallying cry of the 2023 SMART Leadership Conference, “This is Our Time,” goes beyond mere words: It captures the moment of transformation we find ourselves in. The construction industry, ever-changing, presents an environment ripe for our impact. With a steadfast annual growth of 2% in construction employment, our share in the sheet metal market is positioned for a significant surge. This growth empowers us at the negotiation table, enabling us to shape various facets of the industry in unprecedented ways.

However, growth alone won’t suffice. As large-scale projects materialize, one thing is clear: We must intensify our commitment. By aligning with the vision of General President Coleman, we can not only secure a place in these substantial projects but also strengthen our foothold in essential areas like HVAC and architectural work, central to what sheet metal workers contribute to our communities and our nations.

Our advancement is evident across borders and industries, within both the sheet metal and transportation sectors. The Transportation Division stands as a prime example of collective resilience. Despite adversities, its membership grew remarkably, a testament to our members’ unwavering dedication. In the midst of challenges in freight rail, transit, bus and passenger rail industries, your determination to stand united demonstrates the true essence of the labor movement — the power of solidarity in surmounting obstacles.

SMART sheet metal and Transportation Division workers stand up for good jobs and safety in California.

The past decade has been a period marked by trials, each fueling our evolution into the union we are today: one primed to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. From the hurdles posed by a pandemic to tough negotiations and assaults on crew consist, our steadfast commitment to progress is undeniable. The time is now to capitalize on our momentum. The majority of the American and Canadian public recognizes the significance of the labor movement, perhaps more so than at any time since the Great Depression. Our communities stand beside us, advocating for change and acknowledging our role in shaping a prosperous future. They’ve witnessed alternatives that prioritize cost-cutting, resulting in job losses and disasters like the events in East Palestine earlier this year.

Our unity, tireless effort and unwavering devotion provide a solid foundation for a future filled with even more promise.

Our unity, tireless effort and unwavering devotion provide a solid foundation for a future filled with even more promise. Collectively, we stand ready to shape our industries, our communities, and secure a legacy that resonates with future generations. Fueled by unyielding determination, we echo the resounding call: “This is Our Time!”

In solidarity,

Joseph Powell
SMART General Secretary Treasurer