President Joe Biden visited SMART Local 19 (Philadelphia, Pa.) on Labor Day, honoring America’s workforce with sheet metal workers and union members from across the area during the annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Celebration. Local 19 apprentice Brittany Rivera introduced the president, telling her story of entering the sheet metal trade, being a working mom and the many benefits Local 19 has afforded her and her young family.

“Being a union member has changed my life,” Rivera said. “I spent 15 years in food service before a friend encouraged me to get in this trade. From him, I saw how a union provides stability, security and a good-paying job to raise my family. … I’m so grateful for Local 19. I know that I belong here.”

“Thanks to President Biden, the most pro-union president in our history, women are realizing that the trades aren’t just for men,” she added. “They’re taking advantage of the opportunities being created thanks to the president’s leadership.”

Biden’s visit to Local 19 — during which he also recognized Philadelphia City Council candidate and Local 19 Business Manager Gary Masino — is a testament to this administration’s real, material support for union workers, said Local 19 Political Director Todd Farally.

President Biden shakes hands with Local 19 apprentice Brittany Rivera.

“It is always an honor for Local 19 to host the Tri-State Annual Labor Day Parade and Celebration. But this year was a particular privilege for our union,” Farally explained. “President Biden spoke to thousands of union members about all the good work his administration has delivered over these past few years: investing in our infrastructure, rebuilding our manufacturing base and ensuring worker-friendly regulations within federal labor law.”

In his speech, Biden specifically discussed the crucial role SMART sheet metal workers are playing as we build the economy of the future, from complex ventilation systems in chip plants, to fabricating and installing energy-efficient heat pumps.

“The sheet metal workers who used to use hand-drawn blueprints to design ductwork in buildings now use sophisticated, computer-aided design systems so the entire project can be laid out in 3D,” he noted, emphasizing the expert training delivered in our union’s apprenticeship programs.

The president also discussed the importance of investing in working families; something his administration has done through the passage of job-creating laws like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

“Decades of handing out excessive tax cuts to the rich and the corporations without making the investments in America and the American people — that had been a bust,” Biden declared. “The long and short of it is we’re making things here in America again with American workers, with American products, in American factories.”

Photos by Local 19 apprentice Rob Jost.

Brothers and sisters,

For many Americans, Labor Day simply signifies the end of summer, beginning of the school year or is viewed as a day off from work. For those of us involved in organized labor, it means more. However, and whenever you are able to celebrate Labor Day, I ask that you take time to educate those around you of how this country’s labor movement impacted the working conditions for EVERYONE in this nation. 

What this holiday is emblematic of is the celebration of the core values of SMART-TD and all Americans who built this country’s blue-collar middle class. The contributions of the labor community keep that dream alive in this country today. Labor Day is a chance to reflect on the achievements of our predecessors whose efforts provided the pathway to lives where the work you are willing to do ideally reflects your quality of life. With that in mind, we ask that you and your family recognize that the fight is never over and intensify your support for those engaged in labor fights.

Today has been made better by the men and women who came before us. It’s a disservice if we take the inroads they made for granted. This holiday weekend, I ask that we commit as union brothers and sisters to do two things. 

First, we should reflect on these men and women who fought before and are fighting now. It strengthens this union and labor as a whole when we take the time to learn about labor history. Perspective is a powerful tool. The collective power of union solidarity is as important to our lives today as it was to workers in the 1800s. The stands we make against the greed of management are the same fights that have gone on for hundreds of years.

Second, this weekend is an opportunity for us engaged in the struggle to take inventory of whether our commitment to our union is proportionate to what those who laid the groundwork before us have done. Child labor laws, minimum wages, the sanctity of healthcare being part of the compensation for our labor WERE NOT GIVEN TO US. Blood was spilled to make these things possible. 

Paying monthly dues provide membership in a union, but getting involved and living as good stewards of this legacy is what ignites and creates a community. These communities are what establish world-changing action.  

 Will you join the fight? Your union and our country need your voice and your talents. We are facing a large-scale resurgence of class warfare that threatens to erase the historic gains and protections the labor movement has earned. 

The world we live in provides many challenges to all of us in the labor movement. We need every one of our proud members to be engaged in order to better the lives of all. Let us keep the trails that were blazed by our predecessors clear, open, and accessible to all.  Be sure that the path to prosperous working-class lives is not enveloped by greed and exploitation.

Please stay safe this holiday weekend!

Solidarity forever,

Jeremy R. Ferguson,
President, Transportation Division

Great challenges are best faced together, and we have encountered many these past few months from those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to carrier practices that place profits before safety, jeopardizing safe operations that affect the general public and our members.
This year on Labor Day, unity and solidarity is at the forefront of my mind as I am proud to have faced all of these adversities together as fraternal brothers and sisters. We are each other’s keepers.
I think about the “old heads” who take the time to teach the new hires the tricks of the trade and the traps to avoid the knowledge of which takes years of experience to acquire. Or the general or local chairperson who stands up for the member who has been unjustly charged; or just the friendly face of a union brother or sister offering a smile or a helping hand at just the right time when things are not going well.
These traits are summarized well in the overarching “I Got Your Back” campaign SMART has launched.
Members of the Transportation Division protect and support one another, consciously and unconsciously, all the time and on a daily basis. A little recognition of this goes a long way, making “I Got Your Back” a solid way to recognize and show support for those whose contributions sometimes are not given the appreciation or attention that’s so richly deserved.
In the July/August newspaper that is en route to you, General President Joseph Sellers Jr. encourages members to honor a mentor by taking a photo with a person who has served as an inspiration or a protector. If you email that along with a few words about the importance of that TD brother or sister in your career to, that person can be recognized.
Truly, the strength of a union does not just come from the elected leaders. At its core, the power of a union comes from the membership and then travels to the leadership. There are only a handful of officers, yet thousands of members. The thousands, when united and energized, can do much more than what a single person can. That’s the power of a collective group. That’s the power of labor. That’s the power of a union!
Labor Day is about YOU. SMART-TD is about YOU. It will take all of us working together to overcome these obstacles we face now and those we will face in the future. However, I fear not as I have your back, and I know you have mine. Together we will face anything that comes our way … united. I am proud to serve alongside each and every one of you.
I do, however, want to take a moment and remember the fallen this Labor Day. We have lost way too many members, brothers and sisters, this past year who were unfortunately killed while performing their duties. Safety is our number one priority and as we work harder than ever toward changing the current culture, we must never lose sight of its importance. We must never forget the fact that our predecessor unions were founded on safety and we, as proud unified labor, will carry on in those same fights now more than ever.
Many of you will be working this Labor Day, and we thank you for your dedication while doing so. I will be out there proudly marching in one of the oldest Labor Day parades in the U.S., shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters of Local 195 in Galesburg, Ill. I look forward to meeting them as I have already met many of you during my recent travels. It is my goal to try attend as many events as possible in efforts to get to know as many of my fellow fraternal brothers and sisters as possible.
May God bless you and keep you safe.

In solidarity,


Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division

Brothers and Sisters,
It may not be common knowledge to many Americans who have the opportunity to kick back and relax on Labor Day what the true genesis of the holiday is.
In the early 1880s, Labor Day was initiated by strong local union leadership in the New York-New Jersey region and was later adopted by some states.
President Grover Cleveland then signed Labor Day into federal law on June 28, 1894, to appease angry union workers engaged in the Pullman railroad labor strike that had been going on since May. Among the leaders of that strike was Eugene Debs, who later served as an officer of one of SMART-TD’s ancestor unions.
After a federal injunction against the workers, Cleveland sent thousands of armed troops into Chicago to break up the strike July 3, 1894. Days later, the situation turned deadly, with more than a dozen workers killed and many other people injured. The federal Department of Labor’s official history of Labor Day leaves out the part about blood being shed.
It was an election year in 1894. Even with the establishment of the holiday, Cleveland, a longtime foe of organized labor, was not re-elected.
In the present day, 126 years later, the circumstances of this year’s Labor Day are unusual to say the least. Much like prior holidays this year, we continue to deal with the risks of a global pandemic — the events that many of our members engage in to celebrate the labor movement and to show solidarity have been restricted or outright canceled.
Please do your best to enjoy those freedoms and, if you are lucky enough to have it, a day off. Please keep your safety and health in mind, along with this:
Unions changed the fate of the American worker. At a time when workers were devalued and mistreated, they provided a brotherhood to stand against big industry. This Labor Day, let us celebrate those who fought for and who continue to fight for a better life while working hard and pursuing their American dream. It is their and our perseverance in pursuit of fair treatment and the sacrifices we, the essential American worker, make on a daily basis that have resulted in the benefits that we enjoy.
Your SMART Transportation Division wishes you and your families a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.
Be safe and thank you.


Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation 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
And members, if you attend this or any other Labor Day event, please send in your photos to for consideration in the next edition of the TD News!

Watch a Labor Day message from SMART General President Joseph Sellers below:

For a video and more on the history of Labor Day, see below:

Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law to appease angry union workers following a railroad labor strike in which President Cleveland, in a controversial move, sent in armed troops to break up the strike. More than a dozen workers were killed.
More information is available here from The History Channel or here from the U.S. Department of Labor.
SMART TD wishes all members and their families a safe and happy Labor Day!

Nebraska State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson invites TD members in his state to come out to Omaha and participate in Labor Day events Sunday and Monday.
SMART members and the Nebraska State Legislative Board will continue their longtime tradition of participation in the Omaha parade Monday.On Sunday, Sept. 2, dinner and speakers will kick off the annual Labor Day Eve feed 5:30 p.m. at the SMART Union Hall, 3333 S. 24th St. in Omaha, where parade shirts will be distributed.
Monday will continue the two-decade-plus tradition of marching in the Omaha parade. Lineup is at 9 a.m. at a location that will be determined. The parade begins at 10 a.m. A refreshment tent, courtesy of Hunegs, LeNeave and Kvas law firm, will be available for participants at the parade’s conclusion.
If a local wishes to contribute to help offset the costs of putting on these events, please make a check out to SMART TD NSLB LO-030, Borgeson said.
For more information, email Borgeson at

By John Risch, National Legislative Director, SMART Transportation Division


Enjoy yourself this Labor Day weekend, provided you’re lucky enough to get the weekend off. In my 30 plus years working freight rail, I worked many a Labor Day weekend, but I am lucky to get this one off and plan to march with our Nebraska members in the Omaha Labor Day parade.
What’s Labor Day all about anyway? While it’s evolved into the last summer picnic or camping trip or a time to hit the back-to-school sales at the mall, that wasn’t the original intent of Labor Day.
Labor Day was started to honor the American worker, or as the Department of Labor states: “Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”
On Labor Day I like to reflect on the progress America’s workers have made in the past 135 years, since the first Labor Day. In 1884, there were no weekends off, overtime pay, minimum wage laws, workplace safety regulations, employer provided health insurance, pensions, paid vacations and the list goes on.
Each and every one of those gains have been made because workers – through their unions – have demanded them and won, over the objections of their employers. It was and continues to be America’s unions that have improved American workplaces.
Union density in America has dropped significantly from its high in 1954. Much of the reason is weak labor laws and fierce employer resistance to workers who try to organize. With that decline in union density, worker income has declined as well. We have all heard the adage, “The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” which is statistically true and the primary reason is that America’s unionization rate has fallen. This gutting of America’s middle-class causes all kinds of socio-economic problems.
The fix to all of this is to fix America’s labor laws and enforcement to make it easier for workers to form unions and negotiate the fair pay and benefits they deserve.
Workers through their unions built America’s middle-class and the decline of our country’s middle-class is largely attributable to the decline in America’s union density. Improved labor laws with strong enforcement will revitalize the labor movement and help rebuild our middle class.
So as you relax this weekend, take a moment and think about what unions have done in our country to make life better for not just union members, but all who work for wages.

SMART Transportation Division wishes everyone a happy Labor Day. Read below to learn about the history of Labor Day.
Beautiful 4th of july United States of America with stylish wave holiday vector

Department of Labor on the history of Labor Day

DOL_laborLabor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The first Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A nationwide holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
Click here to learn more about Labor Day from the Department of Labor.

By Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

missouri_mapWe celebrate Labor Day to honor American workers and the role they continue to play in creating a strong and prosperous nation. Labor Day reminds us that the rights won by the labor movement benefit all workers, and calls us to keep fighting to keep the American Dream alive for every Missouri family.
Skilled workers build our homes, teach our kids, keep our streets safe, and maintain our roads and bridges. Here in Missouri, skilled union labor builds the best-selling truck in America, the Ford F-150, and the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, the Chevy Colorado. Union hands build the F/A-18, the nation’s first strike-fighter that continues to fight terror and protect our servicemen and women around the globe.
Read more from Labor Tribune.

Missouri rtw veto
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoes right-to-work as union members look on at the SMART Local 36 union hall.