Tilden Dickson – a Navajo Nation member and a 12-year, second-generation SMART Local 359 sheet metal worker – introduced President Joe Biden at a March 20, 2024 event in Arizona, where the president announced an investment of up to $8.5 billion in America’s semiconductor manufacturing. The funding, made possible by the CHIPS and Science Act, will create jobs for SMART members, who are already at work building chip manufacturing plants in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio and beyond.

“I grew up in a union household,” Dickson said during his remarks. “I saw first-hand the great value of a good job with livable wages, healthcare and pension benefits.”

Dickson now works as a BIM coordinator in Chandler and is planning to soon buy his first house.

“I’m not the only one whose life has been transformed for the better. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments, there are now hundreds of new jobs for the people of Arizona,” he said.

“I am so grateful and proud we have a president who has an understanding of the importance of giving opportunities like this to communities like ours, and millions of Americans like me.”

Great job, brother!

SMART-TD, behind the leadership of National Legislative Director Greg Hynes and Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity, have unprecedented positive momentum in the halls of state legislatures across the country. Our legislative directors currently have bills in front of 17 state legislatures and many are showing signs of being successful. SMART-TD is very proud of the progress that the SLDs are making in all of these states and would like to share some of the highlights.

· Washington HB 1839 — SLD Herb Krohn’s train-length bill is scheduled for a vote in the Washington House Transportation Committee at noon Feb. 23.

· Arizona HB 2531—SLD Robert Jones has a train length bill limiting trains to 8,500 feet. It was passed through committee and is heading to the floor of the Arizona House.

· Arizona HB 2531—SLD Robert Jones has a train length bill limiting trains to 8,500 feet. It was passed through committee and is heading to the floor of the Arizona House.

· Iowa SF 184 —SLD Chris Smith has a train length bill limiting trains to 8,500 feet. It has been passed through committee in the Iowa Senate and is heading to the Senate floor.

· New Mexico HB 105—SLD Don Gallegos has a two-person crew bill that passed the floor of the New Mexico House of Representatives and is heading to the Senate.

· Minnesota SF 1417—SLD Nicholas Katich has a two-person crew bill that is currently in committee.

· Ohio HB 23—SLD Clyde Whitaker has a two-person crew bill that includes provisions for regulating adherence to wayside defect detectors that is currently in committee.

In the 17 states where SMART-TD’s legislative team is pushing legislation in this cycle, we have 49 combined bills currently in play. These pieces of legislation have the potential to bring about a tremendous amount of progress in our industry and make your day-to-day lives better while holding rail carriers accountable. Your support is needed!

SMART-TD asks that you become involved in these legislative actions. Please visit the Take Action tab of SMART’s website and look at what bills are being pushed in your state. Letters, phone calls, and emails supporting the bills involving our industry go a long way towards realizing their success. We encourage you to advocate for yourselves and your brothers and sisters in your crew base.

The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program has opened registration for a hazmat/chemical emergency response training program in April for rail workers in Arizona, western New Mexico, southeastern California and the Navajo Nation.

This training addresses OSHA- and DOT-required training in addition to procedures, different levels of response and worker protection in a hazardous materials emergency or release, weapons of mass destruction awareness and the incident command system. The Rail Program will conduct the 30-hour Chemical Emergency Response and OSHA 10 Hour Awareness Training Program, and the training also provides completion of the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Outreach requirements.

The training will be held April 1 to 5 in Winslow, Ariz., in the back room of Bojo’s Grill and Sports Club 117 W. 2nd St.

The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is funded to provide this training by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The funding provides the following student expenses: travel, lodging and meals. In addition, an incentive of $175 per day is available to all training participants of these programs, except those who are able to secure regular pay through their employer, or are paid union officers. Lodging is available to attendees traveling more than 50 miles to the workshop.

A flier about the session is available to post at your worksite.

Follow this link to register online.

For more information, call 202-624-6963 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday.

With the partial federal government shutdown in its 35th day on Jan. 25, many small- to mid-sized transit agencies are reporting a financial pinch, Politico.com reports.
Agencies in North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona and California all say that cuts in service are on the table if the shutdown persists.
And at least one transit provider, Cape Fear Public Transportation Agency in Wilmington, N.C., is considering a plan to not operate in February because of a lack of funds. Its executive director reports that Federal Transit Administration (FTA) reimbursements for the first four months of the fiscal year have not been processed with each reimbursement representing a quarter of its monthly operating budget.
But even if the shutdown ended soon, it would not guarantee that the payments would arrive to fund operations, executive director Albert Eby told Politico.com.
Read the full story at politico.com.

PHOENIX – UTU Arizona State Legislative Director Greg Hynes has seen the political attack on organized labor unfold in the Southeast, the Midwest and north in Idaho, knowing it was but a matter of time before the extremists came knocking on the door in the his state. When they did, Hynes and other labor union officers were prepared to fight back.

A federal district court in Phoenix listened carefully — and agreed — as organized labor challenged a new state law aimed squarely at diluting the political power of labor unions in Arizona.

An anti-union Arizona legislative majority decreed that some labor unions – but not the ones with which they curry favor; and certainly not employers – should be restricted in making contributions to political candidates or causes.

A First Amendment violation was made clear to the federal court – that the law’s intent was arbitrarily to restrict the free speech of targeted labor unions – and the state was ordered by the court not to enforce the law on its effective date of Oct. 1. The court now will now consider imposing a permanent injunction.

In the fashion of the novel “1984” by George Orwell, which probed mass mind control, the law’s authors spitefully misnamed it, “Protect Arizona Employees’ Paychecks from Politics Act.”

The law is intended to restrict targeted labor unions – presumably those unions that support political opponents and policies of the legislative majority – from using paycheck deductions of its members to fund political activities or causes.

The law does not impose similar restrictions on unions representing police officers, or on employers who make political contributions. As such, the federal district court said the law violates the free speech rights of the targeted unions.

The court held that the law “violates the First Amendment” by discriminating against ‘those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views”; and “by imposing its burdens on the political speech of some unions and other organizations and not imposing like costs upon other similarly-situated unions, or on other organizations that can use the funds for political activity, the law is under-inclusive and discriminates according to speaker.”

Hynes said the law, put on hold by the court, is “part of a comprehensive legislative campaign to quash speech in Arizona by labor organizations and groups representing employees.” One news organization quoted a sponsor of the law as saying it is intended to prevent unions “from taking their First Amendment rights too far and infringing on the rights of employers.”

Specifically, the law requires unions collecting dues money through payroll deduction either to “affirm to the employers who process the deductions that none of their general fund is used for political purposes or to specify the percentage of their general fund to be used for political purposes.” The term “political purposes” is defined by the law as “supporting or opposing any candidate for public office, political party, referendum, initiative, political issue, advocacy, political action committee, or other similar group.”