In this Talking SMART special episode, SMART General President Michael Coleman, SMACNA President Anthony Kocurek and returning guest host Dushaw Hockett discuss the Belonging and Excellence for All initiative, also known as BE4ALL.
Their conversation, which took place at the end of August 2023 during the SMART Leadership Conference, explores why BE4ALL is so vital for the unionized sheet metal industry as we enter a period of unprecedented opportunity.
“We have to look at all kinds of different ways to bring in a workforce that’s not the traditional way we did that. And the issue with that is we need to be welcoming when we do this.”
– SMART General President Michael Coleman
“We have some projects where the workforce for that project alone exceeds the amount of members we have in that entire local,” said GP Coleman. “We cannot apprentice our way out of this problem. The numbers don’t line up. So, we have to get outside our comfort zone. And we have to look at all kinds of different ways to bring in a workforce that’s not the traditional way we did that. And the issue with that is we need to be welcoming when we do this.”
The values of belonging and inclusion are not only a core part of the solidarity that defines our organization and the labor movement – they will be crucial to ensuring that local unions can meet the workforce demands created by megaprojects, federal legislation and a new emphasis on our industry. Only by bringing all workers into our union will we be able to secure the jobs, hours and collective bargaining strength that lie before us.
Dushaw Hockett is the founder and executive director of Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACEs), a Washington, DC-based organization that is working with SMART and SMACNA to move forward with the BE4ALL initiative.
Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network — working people’s voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.