The deadline for the discounted hotel reservations for the March 4-7, 2024, Albuquerque, N.M., Regional Training Seminar has been extended. The new deadline is now Friday, Feb. 9.

The meeting will take place at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque 1000 Woodward Place NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102. The event rate is $142 per night.

To book accommodations, follow this link.

The cost for TD members to register to attend the seminar is $50. Register for the next RTS to take place in March in Albuquerque, N.M., here.


A SMART News segment highlights the Regional Training Seminars (RTS) and the difference they’ve made in the development and strengthening of our union.

SMART-TD’s shift to Regional Training Seminars (RTS) has been gaining momentum throughout 2022 and 2023. In early October, roughly 200 SMART-TD members gathered in Toledo, Ohio, and received intense, hands-on training on current trends and changes we are seeing from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor — and much more.

Participants were able to choose from a variety of training itineraries specific to their positions and needs. Classes for local chairpersons and vice local chairpersons were taught by SMART-TD Vice President Jamie Modesitt. The course aimed at legislative representatives was taught by SMART-TD’s National Legislative Department team of National Legislative Director Greg Hynes and Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity. Those who chose the curriculum for local presidents were led for the week by Ralph Leichliter, senior assistant to SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson. The class aimed at secretaries and treasurers was taught by Brother John Purcell, a SMART-TD field support representative.

In addition to these primary instructors, the courses in Toledo’s RTS were supplemented by State Legislative Directors Kenny Edwards of Indiana, Don Roach of Michigan and Clyde Whitaker of Ohio. These three effective leaders not only coordinated the RTS, but also bolstered the coursework with some of their states’ best-demonstrated practices.

On Friday, October 6, SMART-TD President Ferguson addressed the general session of the RTS, where he broke down the importance of such trainings. Statistically, he noted, our union’s rates of successful appeals have gone way up in recent years, as well as the number of claims that have been paid on appeal. Regional Training Seminars play a large role in this heightened level of success.

“We knew that we had a lot of young officers coming into this union,” Ferguson remarked. “We knew that we had a lot of young local chairmen coming in, and they were starving for training, starving for the information. How to handle themselves, write claims, and protect that member when they got charged. So, we had to answer that call.”

SMART-TD’s Regional Training Seminars have been a big part of “answering that call.”

“In the last two years, out of 369 cases that went to the First Division, 217 of those were sustained,” he said. “That’s a 58.8% win-to-loss ratio. When I first got involved, when Vice Presidents Modesitt and Brent Leonard got involved, we were happy with 22% to 25% coming out of a public law board. That is why we needed this training. … The cases we have in the pipeline are going to be even better than that. Why? Because we’ve been doing training like this. We’re not going to an annual regional meeting where we spend two hours a day in class and 20 hours talking shop.”

“This is what we’re doing with the member’s money,” Ferguson concluded. “We are helping officers get up to speed to where we need to be so we can back them up when their jobs and their lives are on the line out there on the ballast.”

Registration is now open for the Transportation Division’s (TD) 2024 National Training Seminar at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 9, 2024, to July 11, 2024.

This unique and exciting event is open to all TD Local, State Legislative Board, and General Committee officers. Attendees can expect a full slate of informative workshops, educational opportunities, and many chances to reenergize the spirit of solidarity with fellow union brothers and sisters over the three-day event.

A welcome reception is planned for the evening of Monday, July 8, with full-day training beginning on Tuesday, July 9, through Wednesday, July 10, and concluding with a half-day of training on Thursday, July 11. A group event is scheduled at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for all registered attendees on the evening of Wednesday, July 10th. Special Note: The Local Secretary & Treasurer training will conclude on the afternoon of Friday, July 12. 

An “early bird” registration fee for attendance is $200 per person, covering the welcome reception, three (3) lunches, and the Rock Hall event. On May 1st, the registration fee will increase to $250, and onsite registration will be $290 to cover last-minute additional costs associated with our meeting planning. Children 11 and under are complimentary.

Visit this link to register online.

You may cancel your meeting registration ten days before the first day of the meetings without penalty. Call the Transportation Division at 216-228-9400 or email Nick Torres at ntorres@smart-union.org.

Discounted hotel reservations are available at a rate of $199 per night and are the attendee’s responsibility. Guests can make reservations by using the below link.

https://book.passkey.com/go/SMART24

The cutoff date to make discounted reservations at the hotel is June 14, 2024.

Additional details on the meeting schedule will be updated on the SMART website and in the Member Portal as they become available.

The SMART Transportation Division’s next Regional Training Seminar (RTS) is scheduled to take place March 4 through 7, 2024, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque.

Attendee check-in begins the afternoon of March 4, and those attending should plan to arrive then. Classes and workshops kick off the morning of March 5.

Attending an RTS is an exciting opportunity for local leadership and members to engage one on one with union experts to help fulfill the need for live, in-person training from local leaders closer to home.

The cost for TD members to register to attend the seminar is $50.

The RTS includes classes for local governance, roles of a local president, secretary & treasurer, legislative representatives and local chairpersons in protecting members and on the SMART Constitution, among others.

The classes are taught by national officers and other subject matter experts associated with SMART-TD.

TD President Jeremy Ferguson will attend a welcome reception 6 to 8 p.m. Monday evening before addressing the RTS on Tuesday. He and other union leaders also will be available to answer membership questions.

To register for the seminar, visit https://register.smart-union.org/.

Please note: Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations.

A room block has been reserved at the site of the meeting, 1000 Woodward Place NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102. The SMART-TD event rate is $142 per night.

To book accommodations, follow this link.

For more information, contact Nick Torres in the SMART-TD office at 216-227-5269 or by email at ntorres@smart-union.org.

While our online registration options for the upcoming Transportation Division Regional Training Seminars (RTS) to take place in Toledo, Ohio, Oct. 3 through 6 and in Davenport, Iowa, Nov. 6 through 9, have been disrupted, these events will go on as planned.

For those who have not yet registered, on-site registration for attendees will be an option at both events. The fee to attend the RTS is $50.

Lodging can be booked for the Ohio event by calling the Hilton Garden Inn Toledo Downtown at 419-464-9220. The discounted hotel room block has been filled.

A schedule for the Toledo RTS is available and has been published.

For more information, contact Ohio State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker at 419-565-2629 or email smartunionoslb@gmail.com.

For the Davenport event, call the Rhythm City Casino at 563-328-8000 and mention that you are with SMART-TD to obtain a discounted rate. The TD event rate is $112 per night.

For more information, contact Iowa State Legislative Director Christopher Smith at 641-278-0699 or by email at utuislb@hotmail.com or Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy at 312-236-5353 or by email at bob.guy1@comcast.net.

Please note: Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations for these events.

SMART-TD appreciates your patience as service is restored.

Registration is now open for the SMART Transportation Division Regional Training Seminar (RTS) to take place November 6 through 9, 2023, at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport, Iowa.

Online Registration Is Highly Recommended! Space Will Be Limited!

Attendee check-in begins the morning of Monday, Nov. 6, with programming and speakers scheduled to begin that afternoon.

The RTS schedule and information will be available through the SMART app.

Attending an RTS is an exciting opportunity for local leadership and members to engage one on one with union experts to help fulfill the need for live, in-person training from local leaders closer to home.

The cost for TD members to register to attend the seminar is $50.

The RTS includes classes for local governance, roles of a local president, secretary & treasurer, legislative representatives and local chairpersons in protecting members and on the SMART Constitution, among others.

The classes are taught by national officers and other subject-matter experts associated with SMART-TD.

TD President Jeremy Ferguson and other union leaders are scheduled to appear to answer membership questions. To register for the seminar, visit https://register.smart-union.org/.

The deadline to register to attend is November 1, 2023.

Please note: Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations.

For more information, contact Iowa State Legislative Director Christopher Smith at 641-278-0699 or by email at utuislb@hotmail.com or Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy at 312-236-5353 or by email at: bob.guy1@comcast.net.

Registration has opened for SMART Transportation Division’s Regional Training Seminar (RTS) to take place Oct. 3 through 6, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Toledo, Ohio.

Attendee check-in begins the morning of Oct 3, and those attending should plan to arrive then. Classes and workshops kick off the morning of Oct. 4.

Attending an RTS is an exciting opportunity for local leadership and members to engage one on one with union experts to help fulfill the need for live, in-person training from local leaders closer to home.

The cost for TD members to register to attend the seminar is $50.

The RTS includes classes for local governance, roles of a local president, secretary & treasurer, legislative representatives and local chairpersons in protecting members and on the SMART Constitution, among others.

The classes are taught by national officers and other subject matter experts associated with SMART-TD.

TD President Jeremy Ferguson and other union leaders are scheduled to appear to answer membership questions. To register for the seminar, visit https://register.smart-union.org/.

The deadline to register to attend is Saturday, Sept. 30.

Please note: Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations.

A room block has been reserved at the site of the meeting, the Hilton Garden Inn, 101 N. Summit St., in Toledo. The SMART TD event rate is $129 per night with the hotel reservation deadline Saturday, September 2, 2023.

Follow this link to book online.

For more information, contact Ohio State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker at 419-565-2629 or by email at smartunionoslb@gmail.com.

Brother Arin Johnson of SMART Local 194 (Elkhart, Indiana) kicked off his series of coalition building meetings in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday, May 3rd. Johnson’s vision of bringing members from multiple carriers together to discuss best practices and form a clear idea of what is and isn’t working in the railroad industry was a tall order, but after the first meeting last week, he is off to a great start.

This meeting brought roughly 80 men and women from SMART Transportation Division together and featured three State Legislative Directors, three General Chairmen, members from seven states and four railroads. SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson was in attendance and spoke to the crowd along with other representatives from the International.  

There was also an effort to reach out to the attendees of the meeting from two Ohio government leaders. The first was a recorded video message from Ohio State Senator Nickie Antonio, who sits as the ranking member of the Ohio Senate’s Transportation Committee, as well as the Ohio Select Committee on Rail Safety. The second was from United States Senator Sherrod Brown, who could not attend but sent a letter to the group that can be seen here. Both Senators Brown and Antonio emphasized in their messages that they share SMART-TD’s commitment to rail safety and that they are using their roles as legislators to bring about two-person crew minimums, regulations surrounding the use of wayside defect detectors and several other rail safety improvements.

President Ferguson’s message largely focused on continuing SMART’s current momentum. He started off by thanking Brother Johnson for putting the meeting together.

“It feels good to be on offense!” he added. “We are winning in Washington, DC. We are winning in state houses. We are kicking ass. Our members, local officers and general chairs are winning claims, you’re winning appeals, and you’re winning the confidence of our members.”

Before opening the floor to questions, Ferguson used the moment to emphasize the role that SMART-TD’s training curriculum plays in maintaining our momentum. “These training opportunities get our newer officers ready to properly conduct hearings and put together their appeals.”

He asked all the brothers in sisters in the room to use the training tools at their disposal: “Let’s get prepared to represent these guys right! Please take advantage of our Regional Training Seminars. Please jump on the website and use the SMART University to keep your skills sharp and up to date. These tools are important, and we owe it to every one of our members to get everything out of them that we possibly can.”

Brother Arin Johnson speaks at the coalition building meeting in Cleveland.,
Brother Arin Johnson speaks at the coalition building meeting in Cleveland.,

Following President Ferguson, SMART-TD’s Alternate Legislative Director Jared Cassity broke down the need for members of all rail carriers to put the pedal down on filling out Unsafe Conditions Reports and Technology Failure Reports. He emphasized the importance of this “ammunition” when he takes our fight to the halls of Congress and to each state’s legislators.

Following Brother Cassity, State Legislative Directors from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio took the floor, providing a detailed update on the advancements made in their state legislatures and their plans for what comes next in their states. Michigan SLD Don Roach and Indiana SLD Ken Edwards were wonderful examples of Brother Johnson’s vision for the sharing of best practices. Roach has recently played a large role in the successful overturning of the so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) law in his state. Edwards and other members of the Indiana labor community are in the process of taking that same fight to the state house in Indianapolis.

The conversations between these two SLDs was a great testimony to how effective this series of coalition-building meetings can be as Brother Johnson takes them across the country. Ohio SLD Clyde Whitaker discussed SMART-TD’s recent success in getting two-person crew legislation passed in the Buckeye State and what went into his approach for getting first-of-its-kind regulations put into Ohio law surrounding the regulation of wayside defect detectors. The outline of Brother Whitaker’s talking points are available here and may prove helpful to LR’s and SLD’s nationwide.

Many other topics were brought up by members who came to Cleveland. Among them was the decline in training programs being offered by the rail carriers, the delay in some carriers honoring their back pay obligations that came with the new contract Congress imposed in December, the utility position and crew consist agreements Union Pacific members are grappling with, and the universal question of how we are going to get attendance policies under control across all railroads.

Attendees of this kickoff meeting represented the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and North Dakota and included members working on CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific, and BNSF railroads. The diversity as well as the commonality of the experiences in the room made the meeting a huge success. SMART-TD owes a debt of gratitude to Brother Johnson, and we hope the rest of the meetings in your series are as productive as this one proved to be.

The hotel booking deadline has been extended for the SMART Transportation Division’s Regional Training Seminar (RTS) to take place Nov. 14 through 17, 2022, at the Hilton Branson Convention Center in Branson, Mo.

Single- and double-occupancy rooms can now be booked at the event through Oct. 28.

Attending an RTS is an exciting opportunity for local leadership and members to engage one on one with union experts to help fulfill the need for local training closer to home.

The cost for TD members to register to attend the seminar is $50.

Registration for the event is open and available online via the SMART website.

The RTS includes classes on local governance, the roles of local legislative representatives and local chairpersons in protecting members and on the SMART Constitution.

The classes are taught by national officers and other subject matter experts associated with SMART-TD.

President Jeremy Ferguson also is scheduled to appear to answer membership questions.

To register for the seminar, visit https://register.smart-union.org/.

Please note: Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations.

Room blocks have been reserved at both the Hilton Branson Convention Center and the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.

The SMART TD event rate is $189 per night (single/double occupancy), as mentioned, the deadline for hotel reservations is October 28 for the event rate.

This special rate is available for members beginning Nov. 14, which is the registration day for the RTS.

Classes will begin on the 15th and run through the 17th.

For more information, contact Gerald Sale at 870-761-0643 or by email at smartarslb@yahoo.com.

Go here for a printable flyer about the event.

The deadline for the booking discount for the SMART Transportation Division Tacoma Regional Training Seminar (RTS) has been extended one final time to 5 p.m. Pacific, Wednesday Oct. 19.

For SMART-TD members and officers planning to attend the event Oct. 24 to 27 at the Murano Hotel in Tacoma and stay over, that is your last chance to book a room and receive the $169 discount rate. Attendees should follow this link to get the hotel discount.

The SMART TD event rate is $169 per night (single/double occupancy), the last deadline for hotel reservations is 5 p.m. Pacific Time Wednesday, Oct. 19 for the event rate.

This special rate is available for members who wish to arrive as early as Sunday Oct. 23 or stay through Saturday Oct. 29. Overnight hotel parking is $22 per vehicle and includes unlimited in-and-out privileges.

Attendees are responsible for making their own hotel reservations on the Hotel Murano website.

The cost to attend all three days of the RTS is $65. Registration is done through the SMART website at register.smart-union.org.

Special single-day registration added

Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn has announced that a special one-day admission registration has been created for TD members in the immediate area who want to attend the Tentative Agreement, FRA NPRM and crew-consist presentations and the Q&A with President Jeremy Ferguson at the RTS on Oct. 27.

Registration is available through the SMART website and includes breakfast and lunch.

Cost for the single day registration is $35.

Local leadership and members can engage one on one with union experts to help fulfill the need for local training closer to home.

For more information, contact Krohn at hskrohn55@hotmail.com.

View a printable flier for the RTS