SMART Local 219 (Rockford, Illinois) sheet metal worker Josh Reynolds is a first-year apprentice who learned about the union from his friend, fellow member Isaiah Myers. After completing his pre-apprenticeship and starting his career at Local 219, he says the trade has already “changed my life for the better.” Read his BE4ALL “How I became a SMART member” submission:
“My buddy Isaiah Myers told me about Local 219, and I’d been trying to get into the field for a while prior. I came from website development and design and jumped straight into the sheet metal field – I haven’t looked back since, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I was lucky enough to get a spot as a pre-apprentice; I proved – through hard work and dedication – that I could be taught well, and landed an apprenticeship as a first year (which I currently am). This journey changed my life for the better simply by introducing me to this trade!”
Monday, Sept. 4, marked Labor Day in the United States and our members were out making their presence known in celebration of the work we do while raising awareness about the work that still needs to be done in this country to raise the profile of the working class and organized labor.
California — Local 23 — Santa Cruz
Bus Department Alt. Vice President James Sandoval, left, and other members of his Local 23 in Santa Cruz, Calif., take part in a Labor Day event.
SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson and Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity were in Galesburg, Ill., and continued the tradition of a TD presence in the the nation’s longest-running Labor Day parade.
Our members participated in a Labor Day parade in Omaha, complete with the traditional appearance of the SMART-TD-branded mini-locomotive.
SMART-TD’s Nevada State Legislative Board had a presence at the Reno LaborFest.
Members from TD Locals 2, 1529 and 1816 walked in the Toledo annual Labor Day parade with Sheet Metal members from SMART Local 33.
SMART Transportation Division had a presence at the Labor Day parade in Roanoke, Va.
SMART Local 265 (DuPage County, Ill.) sheet metal worker Danielle Wilson has always impressed her fellow union members with her expertise and craft as a welder. In February, she also impressed contractor Walsh Construction, which featured Wilson – an employee at GT Mechanical – as part of its ongoing progress newsletter tracking the construction of a new Chicago Jesuit Academy (CJA) school building.
“Danielle currently lives in Coal City, Ill., and makes the hour-long commute to CJA every day,” Walsh wrote in its newsletter.
Though Wilson comes from a family of tradespeople – her father and brother are laborers, while her brothers-in-law are sheet metal workers – she originally planned to become a surgeon. After a short stint as a painter, she joined Local 265; since then, Walsh wrote, “she has never looked back,” developing her skills as a welder to such a degree that she is now the go-to stainless steel welder at GT Mechanical.
Her current job, the new CJA building, will serve as the future home for female students attending the academy. Wilson, a journeyperson, is currently working on installing and connecting ductwork for the building’s HVAC system – a vital task that will ensure the quality of the air that future students breathe. However, Wilson is more than a sheet metal worker to the students at CJA; she’s also a role model.
“Danielle recently spoke to the first class of 3rd and 4th grade girls to attend the school,” Local 265 shared on Facebook in February. “She did a fantastic job explaining all the ins and outs of the trade and answered a number of great questions from the students.”
By serving as ambassadors for the sheet metal trade and our union, members like Wilson do more than demonstrate the importance of skilled labor on the job: They pass on knowledge about the fulfilling, life-changing nature of a union sheet metal career. This is vital as SMART works to strengthen the union’s future and lift working families across our two nations.
“Local 265 is very proud of Danielle Nicole Wilson,” the local’s Facebook post concluded.
Hillside, Ill. – SMART SM Local 73 is partnering with Proviso Township and Jewel-Osco to provide added capacity for COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, with its union hall functioning as a vaccine injection site. More than 1400 vaccines were administered today between 9am and 4pm at the local hall in Hillside, just west of downtown Chicago, for residents of any of the 15 villages in Proviso Township.
“This wouldn’t be happening in Hillside today without Local 73 stepping up and helping out,” said Hillside Mayor Joseph Tamburino, who was at the vaccination site throughout the day. “They set the room up and did everything we asked them to do and it’s fantastic. Their facility is just perfect for this.”
The union hall effectively functioned as a one-day pop-up vaccine clinic. The site was thoroughly cleaned and prepped ahead of time and a sanitation crew will be coming Monday night and doing a deep clean of the space.
“This wouldn’t be happening in Hillside today without Local 73 stepping up and helping out.”
– Hillside (Ill.) Mayor Joseph Tamburino
“We are proud to partner with Proviso Township, Jewel-Osco and Mayor Tamburino to provide a safe, convenient location for members of our community to receive their vaccine,” said Local 73 President and Business Manager Raymond Suggs. He added that the local is looking to help with additional vaccination days in coming weeks, depending on vaccine availability.
Nationally, SMART is part of a coordinated effort by U.S. building trades unions to make their facilities available to President Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Task Force for U.S. vaccine distribution. In February, the Governing Board of Presidents of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) voted unanimously to offer more than 5,000 union halls and training centers to the vaccine distribution effort.
Matt Hanson, alternate legislative representative and trustee for Local 171 (Aurora, Ill.), is continuing his bid to retain his seat on the Kane County Board.
Hanson, an incumbent seeking a full term, is facing a Democratic primary challenge March 18 and continues to build momentum for a successful campaign with endorsements from the North Central Illinois Labor Council (NCILC) and the Fox Valley Building Trades (FVBT) along with several elected officials since entering the 2020 election cycle. “I will continue to govern, drive discussion, and vote to support all employees of Kane County whether or not protected through collective bargaining,” Hanson said in an email. “Votes can be cultivated and secured using a variety of means, all of which I look to utilize. I always “do the work” for myself and like-minded candidates when my assistance is requested.” During this effort, Hanson’s been juggling time serving on the county board, his union officer responsibilities, and his full-time career as a locomotive engineer for BNSF and can use the support of his fellow union brothers and sisters both in Illinois and elsewhere. He has a fund-raising event scheduled 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Mike & Denise’s Pizzeria, 1760 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora, Ill., 60505, and invites members to come out and support his efforts. Tickets are $25. “Any help that can be lent is needed and immensely appreciated,” said Hanson. “I am proud to tell everyone encountered on the campaign trail that I am a card-carrying union railroader that belongs to SMART-TD Local 171.” To contact Hanson and contribute to his campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail checks to Friends of Matt Hanson, P.O. Box 1101, Aurora, IL 60507.
Indiana Rail Road, with the backing of the major rail carrier organizations, has filed suit challenging a law requiring two people on freight crews in Illinois, the Courthouse News Service reported. “The recent history of railroads confirms the wisdom of FRA’s expert determination that minimum-crew-size laws are neither necessary nor appropriate,” the carriers said in their filing. “In recent decades, technological breakthroughs have allowed railroads to gradually decrease average crew sizes—from about five in the 1960s to just two today—while compiling an ever-improving record of safety. Now, the nation’s railroads are poised to deliver even safer and more efficient service.” The filing repeatedly referenced the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that occurred in late May. In the NPRM, FRA Administrator Ron Batory announced that his agency was acting with the intention to pre-empt any state laws regarding rail crew size. Indiana Rail Road, a regional railroad that operates over 250 miles of track in Illinois and Indiana, began using one-person crews in 1997. The FRA’s NPRM withdrawal is being challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Nevada by SMART TD, Illinois and a number of other states. Illinois on Aug. 9 became the seventh state overall and third this year to enact two-person crew legislation. The Illinois law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The lawsuit, which also lists the Association of American Railroads and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association as plaintiffs, was filed Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.
All SMART members are invited to participate in annual Labor Day parades. On Monday, Sept. 2, in Galesburg, Ill., Transportation Division Alternate National Legislative Director-elect Jared Cassity is scheduled to be in attendance to march alongside members of TD Local 195 and all other members who attend the 127th edition of the parade, a tradition that recognizes the sacrifice and contribution that workers have made in building our nation. “Galesburg holds the title for the second-oldest consecutive Labor Day parade in America,” said Local Chairperson Bryan Roberts (LCA 001E) of TD Local 195. “We will have a photo with everyone before the parade begins and a float available to ride in the parade.” Roberts said participants should meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the TD Local 195 union hall in the basement of the Bondi Building, 311 E. Main St., lower level. There is an access door off Kellogg Street as well that leads downstairs to the union hall in addition to the building’s main entrance. Roberts said there will be a picnic with food and drink provided immediately following the parade at Lake Story, Pavilion 3, 1572 Machens Drive in Galesburg. The pavilion is immediately to the left when turning off Lake Story Road toward the Main Pavilion across from the softball fields, Roberts said. Alcohol is prohibited on site. All members in Galesburg and the surrounding area are invited to participate. “We hope to see everyone there,” Roberts said. In Nebraska, food and fun are on the schedule at the membership feed 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, the night before the big parade in Omaha. Parade T-shirts will also be distributed at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 3333 S. 24th St., in Omaha. Line-up for the parade takes place at 9 a.m. the following day at the northeast corner of 17th and Mike Fahey streets. Attend the feed or contact State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson for more details on participating at email@example.com. And members, if you attend this or any other Labor Day event, please send in your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration in the next edition of the TD News!
An oil train derailment and spill in northwest Illinois poses an “imminent and substantial danger” of contaminating the Mississippi River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Saturday.
The spill from the derailment, which occurred Thursday, also threatens the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, one of the most complex ecosystems in North America.
A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said.
The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn’t yet been determined. No injuries were reported.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, the newly elected Republican who has often criticized public sector unions, took his first step toward curbing their power on Monday by announcing an executive order that would bar unions from requiring all state workers to pay the equivalent of dues.
Mr. Rauner, who faces a Democratic-controlled legislature with strong ties to labor, took the unilateral step saying that he believed those fees violate the United States Constitution.