Metal Trades / Shipyard

SMART Metal Trades workers are located in Canada and the United States. Our members weld, fabricate, operate material handling machinery, and assemble – we manufacture and produce products for many industries however, our focus is on the fields of Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE). We work closely with these federal agencies to coordinate and produce materials and equipment that is vital to our country and its citizens. SMART provides apprenticeship training in all of our Metal Trades facilities.

Why Become a SMART Metal Trades Worker?

The SMART Union defends the rights of its members to a voice on the job, dignity at work, and a seat across from the boss at the bargaining table.  We will fight alongside you for a Union Contract that holds your employer accountable for higher wages, retirement benefits, and affordable health insurance, seniority and job posting rights, and your ability hold your employer to standards of fairness and equity.

A Seat at the Table

When you have a Union, your employer must bargain fairly with you and your coworkers over a Union labor contract that covers wages, work hours, and conditions of work. Without a Union, workers get only what the employer is willing to give them.  With a Union, management must bargain over guaranteed rates of pay, holidays, shifts, health benefits, paid breaks, posted jobs, a method for resolving disputes, and more.

Seniority Rights

Union contracts provide seniority rights that honor length of service at work and are also an unbiased way of making decisions.  With a seniority system, your employer no longer decides who gets job postings and vacation and overtime preference, who gets laid off and who continues working, and what shifts you will work. A Union contract will determine and insure fairness in the workplace.

Just Cause

When you have a Union contract, your employer must have a fair and even-handed reason to discipline you – they must have Just Cause.  Without a labor contract, management is not required to explain themselves or to have a reason to suspend or terminate a worker.  Just Cause requires management to investigate fairly, follow rules, and have valid reasons to discipline.  Union members can work without fear of being blind-sided with arbitrary discipline by management.

Grievance and Arbitration Process

When management violates Union member rights, the contract provides a method for resolving disputes.  In non-Union shops, workers literally have nowhere to go with complaints.  With the Union’s grievance and arbitration process, disputes can be ultimately placed in front of a fair, impartial arbitrator to render judgement.


The SMART Union is a democratic organization that depends on the participation and service of its members. When your Union bargains, your fellow workers elected as committee members represent you. When your Union represents you on a grievance, your fellow workers elected as stewards represent you. All your Union representatives are democratically elected from the membership.



When you have a Union, your employer must listen to you on safety issues. Injuries and workplace deaths are higher in non-union shops. Workers there, lack protection from the employer if they make complaints, and so they let safety issues go.  In a Union shop, safety issues can be subject to grievance and arbitration.  The SMART Union educates its members on safety, and we demand placement on our employers’ safety committees.