Following a successful organizing campaign against union-busting opposition, SMART Local 16 members at Vancouver, Washington-based 360 Sheet Metal are now on strike, protesting unfair labor practices and a refusal to come to the bargaining table by management. Workers have been striking since late July, with Local 16 filing charges that 360 Sheet Metal “retaliated against pro-union workers by giving them isolating work assignments, making unilateral changes without bargaining, surveilling workers, and firing at least one union supporter,” according to Northwest Labor Press.

As reported by Local 16 organizer Matt Haines in the summer issue of the SMART Members’ Journal, 360 Sheet Metal almost exclusively builds custom ductwork and pays workers just above the minimum wage – plus, the company is currently under investigation by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries for repeat violations of state prevailing wage law. After a hard-fought battle to form a union, the workers won their National Labor Relations Board election in April 2022. Since then, however, the company has refused to offer workers a contract – and in mid-August, management grew even more hostile. From Northwest Labor Press:

“Strikers say … they were notified they’re eligible for COBRA health coverage on account of their ‘termination.’ If they were in fact terminated, that too would be a violation of federal law, which protects the right to strike and makes it unlawful to permanently replace workers when they’re on strike to protest unfair labor practices.”

Not only is 360 Sheet Metal violating labor law, the company is undermining workers’ rights to union representation, fair wages, dignity on the job and the ability to support their families. Despite these flagrant attacks, however, Local 16 members are refusing to back down, and the labor movement is standing with them. Every morning, striking SMART members have picketed 360 Sheet Metal from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with members of the Ironworkers, Cement Masons, Insulators, Drywall Finishers and Laborers walking the picket line in solidarity. Teamsters working at UPS have refused to cross the picket line, and C-TRAN bus drivers with ATU Local 757 have honked and displayed messages of strength and unity.

SMART condemns 360 Sheet Metal’s anti-union activity in the strongest possible terms, and we stand in complete, unwavering solidarity with Local 16 members on the picket line.

An open letter from the office of SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Earlier today, I advised our Rail General Chairpersons involved in national bargaining that the cooling-off period after our release by the NMB will be ending Monday, July 18, at 12:01 a.m., and if a Presidential Emergency Board is not appointed by then, there will be the opportunity to engage in self-help. A copy of that letter can be found here.

According to the governing provisions of the SMART Constitution, a strike action over a national contract dispute must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the affected General Chairpersons. This method, which has been carefully written and democratically required by our delegates, provides a quick and effective way to obtain strike authority from our members. As noted in my letter, our General Committees have so far shown unanimous support for exercising our right to legally strike, if and when the opportunity presents itself. This result does not come as a surprise, given the railroads’ abysmal treatment of our members over the last 2+ years, and their ongoing refusal to make any move toward a contract that is even remotely worthy of your consideration in a ratification vote.

As noted in my letter to our General Chairpersons, this approval does not automatically constitute authorization to engage in a strike. Final authorization will come in a separate notice from this office, and will be widely distributed using every communication tool available to us. The earliest this office could issue that notice could be on or after 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 18, 2022. However, if President Biden establishes a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) prior to this date, which is generally expected under these circumstances, no strike authorization can be issued during the PEB process.

With that being said, preparation for the possibility of a strike is well under way. We will soon be distributing materials to all affected SMART-TD Locals, which will include explicit detailed instructions. We will also be electronically distributing picketing materials so our members may choose which signs they want to display. This method of distribution provides the added benefit of avoiding any potential delays that might result from mass printing and mailing these materials from a central location.

Your national negotiating team is more determined than ever to obtain a contract that provides the fair compensation, meaningful improvements in quality of life, and better healthcare that we rightfully expect and deserve. To the carriers and their media pundits who are trying to cast us in a negative light: Your bogus rhetoric might resonate with the hedge fund managers, Wall Street investors, and billionaire cronies you cater to, but the hard-working people who earn you your all-time record-breaking profits aren’t buying it. Make no mistake, we are prepared and willing to exercise every legal option available under the Railway Labor Act to achieve our goals.


Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division

Chicago-area auto mechanics are back to work this morning after a seven-week strike. Members of Local 701 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) was on strike against 130 new car dealerships across the city. The mechanics of the local ratified a new four-year contract that addresses many of the union’s key issues.
Click here to read more from IAM.

NJ TransitIn an article published by the Asbury Park Press, SMART TD General Chairperson (GCA 610) Steve Burkert said that he is still hopeful that a deal will be struck between New Jersey Transit (NJT) and the Rail Labor Coalition. NJT and the Rail Labor Coalition have already had two Presidential Emergency Boards (PEB) assigned by President Obama to work out an agreement. Both PEBs’ findings supported the Rail Labor Coalition’s stance. However, since the PEBs’ recommendations are non-binding, NJT has been dragging its feet in adopting the PEBs’ recommendations to provide a workable contract. The Rail Labor Coalition, which represents 17 unions, including SMART, and 4,200 union members has authorized a strike on March 13, if a deal can not be reached. NJT has also threatened a lockout on the same date. Click here to read the full story.

cp-logo-240Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. began operating a reduced freight schedule run by its managers on Feb. 15, after talks on a new contract broke down and more than 3,000 train engineers and conductors walked off the job.

Canada’s No. 2 railway and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference failed to agree on terms including on scheduling and rest time. The railway reached a deal with a second union, Unifor, which represents safety and maintenance workers.

Read the complete story at Reuters.


The International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and its allied unions on the Long Island Rail Road invite members of organized labor and their family, friends and supporters to a “LIRR Labor Rally” on Saturday, June 21, at 11 a.m. at the Massapequa Train Station.
SMART Transportation Division GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon said the purpose of the rally is to demonstrate the resolve of affected LIRR employees in achieving the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board 245.
In a ruling delivered May 20, PEB 245 found decisively in favor of the unions in their ongoing dispute with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority over wages, work rules and pension reforms.
In its report, the board notes that “the lack of notice and bargaining on substantial issues in the Carrier’s final offer is of significant concern … The Unions’ final offer, on the other hand, represents a reasonable balance addressing the priorities of both parties … It is noteworthy that the Unions’ assertion that real wage increases for LIRR employees, absent inflation, have not increased at all since 1991, was not challenged by the Carrier.”
The PEB report set in motion a final 60-day cooling off period. If no agreement is reached during that time, SMART and the other unions are legally allowed to strike July 19 under provisions of the Railway Labor Act.
However, Simon told New York’s Newsday May 27 that SMART would be willing to extend by 60 days, or until mid-September, any strike on the railroad.
“Our members care about Long Island and its economy,” said Simon, adding that a strike could harm summer tourism-based businesses. “All we would need is the MTA to mutually agree on the extension.”
SMART’s coalition partners include the Transportation Communications Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers-Service Employees International Union.
To print a rally flyer, click here.
Show your support here:
See also: LIRR workers urge management, Cuomo to help delay strike deadline

SEPTA_logo_150pxNearly 99 percent of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) members working for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have voted to authorize a strike when a mandatory 30-day cooling off period under the Railway Labor Act ends in less than two weeks, BLET officials announced this morning.

Locomotive engineers could walk off the job or be locked out by SEPTA at 12:01 a.m. on June 14 unless President Barack Obama intervenes and appoints a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), according to a BLET press release. A PEB would delay a strike or lockout, and would investigate and issue a report and recommendations concerning a dispute in negotiations, union officials said.

Read the complete story at Progressive Railroading.

CN_red_logoTORONTO – Canadian National Railway Co said on Wednesday that the union representing roughly 3,000 of its train conductors and yard operation workers in Canada has given the company notice of its intention to strike as early as Saturday.

The strike notice comes just days after the tentative labor contract reached last year with CN, Canada’s largest rail operator, was rejected by union members.

Read the complete story at InForum.

BREWSTER, Ohio – The more than 100 locomotive engineers and trainmen who went on strike Friday have been ordered by a federal judge to return to work.

U.S. District Court Judge John R. Adams issued a temporary restraining order late Friday afternoon that ended the daylong strike by the members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which included pickets in front of the terminal on Wabash Avenue. The workers had cited safety violations as the reason for the protest against the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway.

Read the complete story at the Canton Repository.


OTTAWA – Some 4,800 striking Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive engineers, conductors and rail traffic controllers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference are returning to their jobs June 1 following final passage by Parliament of back-to-work legislation. The strike in Canada began May 23.

The legislation provides for appointment of an arbitrator, who will have 90 days to craft a compromise agreement that will then be imposed legislatively.

“With no prospect of resolution in sight, the government acted to ensure continued rail services for businesses, families and the economy,” said Labor Minister Lisa Raitt.

In recent years, the conservative-controlled Canadian Parliament has also ordered an end to strikes on Canadian National Railway and Air Canada, according to reports.