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.

Brothers and Sisters,

Happy Fourth of July from myself and the SMART General Executive Council. Wherever you are across the country, I hope you are able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor with friends and family.

This is an exciting Independence Day for our union. Our efforts over the past several years are starting to pay off, and we are now in a time of unprecedented opportunities.

Public and private infrastructure projects are breaking ground across the country, putting SMART members to work in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, New York and well beyond. The strong labor standards tied to federal funding on both current and future projects will help create thousands of sheet metal jobs for our members – plus, local unions still have ongoing core work. It is a good time to be a union sheet metal worker.

In the transportation sector, SMART-TD members are finally beginning to see progress on battles we have been fighting for years. Two-person crews are now the law of the land in Ohio, Kansas and Minnesota, and the federal Railway Safety Act continues to move forward in the United States Senate. We are also seeing major projects break ground related to Amtrak infrastructure. These projects will put sheet metal members to work on jobs that will benefit transportation members’ working conditions.

I want to thank every single member who hit the pavement to make these gains, whether you got out the vote last election, called your elected representatives to tell them to vote for rail safety or simply showed up at your local union meeting to get involved. YOU are the reason we are in this position.

Now, let’s take advantage. This is our time to act, to make sure we continue our forward momentum. The influx of sheet metal work is creating enormous demand – now is the time to organize and recruit across all communities to strengthen our union and grow our collective bargaining power. For our railroaders and transit operators, momentum and media attention are on our side. Let’s seize this opportunity to educate our friends, neighbors, communities and lawmakers, and finally win the safety and job protections we deserve.

All the gains we have made are a result of the core values of unionism: solidarity, equality, freedom, democracy. These are principles we hold dear – as union members, and as Americans. This Independence Day, we honor the generations of Americans who have given the ultimate sacrifice to uphold those principles and maintain our independence. Your bravery will never be forgotten.

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

CHICAGO – Ensure your Independence Day weekend is filled with celebration and not regret with these 10 fire safety tips, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V office in Chicago:

  1. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
  3. If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water handy in case of malfunction or fire.
  4. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water then throw them away.
  5. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.
  6. Use your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhangs.
  7. Open your gas grill before lighting.
  8. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.
  9. Declare a three-foot “kid and pet-free zone” around the grill to keep them safe.
  10. Avoid loose clothing that can catch fire when cooking on the grill.

You can find more information and tips on being fire safe this Fourth of July, by visiting

Also, be sure that your holiday is union-made by checking the chart below from Union Plus! Click here for the complete union-made list.

4th of July union made

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