Local 473 (London, Ontario) member Patrick Gordon took a long, somewhat convoluted journey into the union sheet metal trade – one that brought him face-to-face with the exploitation and disregard that often afflicts nonunion workers, and demonstrated first-hand the union difference. That makes his current job as an organizer even better, he says: “I feel blessed that my job now is to go and talk to nonunion workers about how great it is to join SMART.” Read more from Gordon’s BE4ALL “How I became a SMART member” submission:

“After I graduated high school, I didn’t know what I wanted for a career. I went to an unemployment centre in my small town; they suggested a trade, and I chose sheet metal. I was sent to work for a nonunion company – after working there for three years and not being signed up for an apprenticeship (as required by law), I was let go from that job due to circumstances beyond my control. Little did I know: That was a blessing in disguise.

“I couldn’t find any jobs in the small community I lived in. A friend of mine was living in a larger neighbouring city and already working as an apprentice in the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters. He suggested I join the sheet metal workers union – I exclaimed that I didn’t even know such a thing existed! I was so excited to start a new career in a union, where I would be protected from unjust discharge among other great things.

“Unfortunately, I had another setback due to a contractor. However, this time a brother stuck up for me and had my back, and made sure the business manager knew that the contractor was in the wrong. That was a huge moment for me: to see someone pick me up when I was down and have a brother have my back. I definitely knew that this was the career for me; not only that, but that I belonged to an organization that would always look out for my best interests.

“This past spring, I received my 15-year pin as a member of SMART. I have served as an executive board member for nine and a half years, and I’ve been working as an organizer for five and a half years. I am so proud to be a SMART member, I am so grateful for the opportunities this organization has provided for me and my family, and I feel blessed that my job now is to go and talk to nonunion workers about how great it is to join SMART.”

In June 2022, the SM Local 473 (London, Ontario) SMART Army conducted a food drive, donating 225 pounds of food, a $1,000 check and $150 cash to the London Food Bank Curb Hunger Food Drive.

Pictured L–R: London Food Bank staff member, Local 473 Business Manager Mark Hall, Vice President Albert Morgado, Organizer Patrick Gordon.

Thirty operating employees from Union Pacific Railroad in the La Grande, Ore., area, who retired or left employment on disability in the last year, will be honored at a retirement party Nov. 23, SMART Transportation Division Local Chairperson Larry Romine reports.
The 30 members of both the SMART TD and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have more than 1,000 years of combined railroad service.
The party will be held Nov. 23 at the La Grande Retirement Center, located at 1504 Albany St. in La Grande, from 6 p.m. until midnight.
For only $10 per person, attendees will enjoy the music of Rusty Roe and his buddies, dancing, a railroad archives room, a no-host bar and hors d’oeuvres, including chicken skewers, East Indian meatballs, vegetable platters, shrimp, bacon wraps and stuffed mushrooms.
Photograph albums and publications from the Old Timers’ Group from 1960-1970 and a Junior Old Timer’s photo album from 1983-1984 are being provided for the railroad archive room. All submissions for the room are welcome and encouraged. To make submissions to the railroad archive room, or for more information, contact Larry Romine at (541) 910-4568.
Those being honored are:

  • Richard T. Aarde Jr. (473)
  • R.C. “Bob” Aldred
  • Dewayne K. Bechtel
  • Gordon W. Blankenship (473)
  • Kerry G. Bolen (473)
  • R. Dan Bowen
  • Larry V. Cathey (473)
  • Kevin L. Edwards
  • Tim S. Elliott (473)
  • Frayne E. Emerson (473)
  • Cole J. Fields (473)
  • Mike D. Flower
  • Tim K. Gorrell
  • Willard E. Hafer (473)
  • Gregg P. Hjelm (473)
  • Phil W. Horton
  • Brad L. Jenkins
  • Jim L. Johnson (473)
  • Lloyd L. Leathers (473)
  • HD Butch Malone (473)
  • Lane R. Marshall (473)
  • Dale F. Mitchel (473)
  • Pat R. Orourke (473)
  • Matt S. Sirrine (473)
  • Roger A. Shaw (473)
  • Ron W. Slatt
  • M.E. Spaulding Jr. (473)
  • Charlie H. Springer (1468)
  • Doug L. Trice (473)
  • Ron P. Ward (473)