HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — SMART Transportation Division General Counsel Kevin Brodar minced no words Tuesday, Aug. 7, when describing the 5-4 Janus v. AFSCME decision written by United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that was released this summer.
“His hate and loathing — and that’s being kind — for unions and working people drips from every page of this opinion, if that’s what you want to call it — an opinion,” Brodar said. “It’s less an opinion but more a right-wing manifesto as to how to eliminate unions.”
The 45-page Janus ruling taking away the ability of unions in the public sector to collect agency fees from “free-riders” has been an important topic at SMART TD’s Hollywood, Fla., regional meeting. In Monday’s combined opening session with Sheet Metal and TD sides in attendance, SMART General President Joseph Sellers Jr., General Secretary-Treasurer Rich McClees and TD President John Previsich all mentioned the precedent-destroying case.
Brodar, during the opening session of the second day, went into even more detail on the ruling.
“What Justice Alito tries to sell here is the two-century-old idea that unionism is just an excuse for legalized extortion,” Brodar said, holding up a printed copy of Alito’s opinion. “This case is an attack on working people. It’s an attack on all unions, not just public-sector unions. It’s an attack on this union.
“This is an attack on every one of you who goes out and does the hard work of defending the members, who goes out and does the hard work of standing against the tide of the carriers, who goes out and does the hard work of the long and tedious hours.”
Big-moneyed interests and industries have exacted a toll on workers throughout history – in injuries, blood and in some cases, human lives, Brodar said. In the early days of the labor movement, workers’ efforts to organize sometimes were met with armed responses intended to put down their resistance.
“No matter how many people were killed, however, the industrialists and the right-wingers and the conservatives and the business interests could not kill the idea of unions,” Brodar said. “They could not kill the cause because the cause is a righteous cause … You are the heirs to that fight.”
Those same forces that tried to suppress unions in the past exist today in the form of union foes such as Alito, the Koch brothers, the Federalist Society and other billionaire backers, Brodar said. This time, those enemies of labor are playing a long game with the Janus ruling being one step in their attempts to kill unions.
“Their new tactic is death from strangulation. They hope to dry up the union funds until the unions can no longer function and they just disappear and go away,” Brodar said.
The Janus decision “is essentially a green light for people to freeload” from public-sector unions, he said, and private sector unions likely will be next to be targeted.
“Look at the people sitting next to you. This affects your brothers and sisters in this room, in this union today, tomorrow,” Brodar said. “If you don’t think they are coming for the private sector, wake up and smell the coffee. That’s the next thing that is going to happen.”
Members will have to make a choice to fight back to preserve that which gives them a middle-class lifestyle, Brodar said. They can do that by educating their fellow members, their friends, neighbors and anyone else they can about what these anti-union forces are trying to accomplish through stacking the courts, trying to get right-to-work-for-less laws and other means.
“It’s up to us to respond. We can’t sit back, because if we do, we will disappear,” Brodar said. “We need to go out and educate every member every day, every way.”

SMART Transportation Division General Counsel Kevin Brodar holds up a printout of the Janus v. AFSCME decision on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the second day of the SMART TD regional meeting in Hollywood, Fla., as TD President John Previsich, left, listens.

A pair of tours on August 5 and 6 for attendees of the 2018 SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting in Hollywood, Fla. has been finalized.
Day 1 (August 5): Florida Everglades excursion
Attendees will be picked up from the Hilton Diplomat at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, and taken into the legendary Florida swamp, where they will experience an hour-long airboat ride, an alligator/wildlife nature show and have a chance to explore the natural beauty of the Everglades via a walking trail. The guided tour includes a buffet BBQ lunch and attendees will arrive back at the hotel at approximately 2:45 p.m. Guests are advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes with non-slip soles. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat are recommended for protection from the sun as is a camera to capture pictures of the wild beauty. Earplugs will be provided for the airboat ride.
Day 2 (August 6): Water tour of the ‘Venice of America’ on the Intracoastal Waterway
A leisurely three-hour cruise held Monday, August 6, will provide our group with the opportunity to see the waterways, beautiful homes of the rich and famous, as well as some of their amazing yachts! Attendees will simply walk outside the Diplomat Resort and cross the walkway that takes you over the road to the Intracoastal Waterway, where a private chartered water taxi will be docked and waiting.
Attendees will be picked up at 10 a.m. at the Intracoastal Waterway, and the water taxi will return to the hotel by 1:30 p.m. A catered lunch will be provided aboard the ship, which has a restroom and numerous covered observation areas.
Tour costs are $35 per person for registered guests of the regional meeting and $75 per person for guests who are not registered for the regional meeting. Follow this link to register online or you can download a fillable PDF version of the regional meeting registration form.

SMART TD has opened paper and online registration for the 2018 regional meetings located in Seattle, July 2 – 4, and in Hollywood, Fla., Aug. 6 – 8.
A completed registration form and payment must be received by no later than June 22, 2018, to be considered pre-registered for the Seattle meeting and July 27, 2018, for the Hollywood meeting. The price for registration for pre-registered guests is $150 per guest. Registration for children ages 11 and under is complimentary. Registrations received after the registration deadlines listed above will be charged an on-site registration fee of $200. Additional fees apply for tours.
The registration fee covers all workshop materials, a welcome reception, three lunches and one evening meal. Those wishing to attend only the workshops do not need to register or pay the $150 fee.
You may cancel your meeting registration 10 days prior to the first day of the meetings without penalty. Call the Transportation Division at 216-228-9400 or email immediately regarding changes or cancellations to your registration.
Those planning on attending a regional meeting may register online or by filling out and printing the mail-in form and sending it and your payment in to SMART TD headquarters at SMART TD Regional Meeting, 24950 Country Club Blvd., Ste. 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070. Checks should be made payable to SMART Transportation Division. Please do not send cash.

SMART Transportation Division is proud to announce that the 2019 regional meeting will be held in San Diego, Calif. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

2018 regional meetings — Archived presentations in PDF form

NOTE: Slide presentations given at the Hollywood, Fla., regional meeting workshops were nearly identical to the ones in Seattle with one new submission (noted below):