The Trade Union of Railwaymen and Transport Construction Workers of Ukraine (TURWTC), equivalent to SMART-TD in the United States, needs to find more personal protective equipment for their members. Work clothes and personal hygiene products are also needed.

SMART-TD is asking for locals or individual members to take up collections and send them to our office in Cleveland, Ohio:

  • Gloves (work, insulated, combined, leather, welder’s, cotton, cotton w/ PVC drops, latex coating, rubber (acid proof, acid-alkali resistant, anti-vibration, dielectric)
  • Work boots
  • Winter balaclavas (ski masks)
  • Dialectric boots/galoshes
  • Dielectric mats
  • Respirators (dustproof, gasproof, anti-gas and erosion)
  • Protective eyewear
  • Protective goggles for welders and gas cutters
  • Safety helmets
  • Face shield / welder’s masks
  • Safety shields
  • Earplugs / headphones
  • Safety belts
  • Aprons (tarpaulin, rubberized)

Railroaders before politics

While surrounded by bombings, rolling blackouts, and an ongoing struggle to keep themselves and their families alive, one thing is universal: You don’t get to say no when you’re first out and the railroad calls you to work.

Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are not only obligated by their company to take that call to work, but they also have the added obligation to keep the country’s supply chain, people, and humanitarian support moving while their country is under attack. It is a heavy moral burden that, hopefully, no SMART-TD member will ever have to know.

SMART-TD leads a team effort

SMART-TD brother Nathan Hatton, local chairperson of Local 168 in Chicago, initially had the idea to reach out to SMART-TD’s counterpart in Ukraine. He and Justin Wolters, general chairperson of GCA 449, made it happen with help from the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center. This office was established in Warsaw, Poland, to keep communications flowing to Ukrainian labor unions during the Russian invasion.

The AFL-CIO, in conjunction with an organization known as Union To Union out of Sweden, made this connection possible.  They provided an interpreter for a meeting between TURWTC’s Chairman Oleksiy Semerun and SMART-TD Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity, who led the SMART-TD delegation on the call.

As GC Wolters stated while talking to the Ukrainian delegation, “This is not a political stance being taken by SMART-TD or any of its members. Railroaders help other railroaders and rail families. That is what we are doing here. All of us can get behind that.”

Ukraine has complicated needs

Chairman Semerun categorized the way SMART-TD and our members could help his 260,000 freight, transit, and metro members.

  1. Training
  2. Lobbying our Congress
  3. Humanitarian support

The first two of these categories are complicated. The leaders of our National Legislative Department are doing their part to assist and the aid package that was passed in late April. Humanitarian support is easier to accomplish by contributing what you can from the list of items above or by contributing monetarily.

Ukraine has a very robust rail system as demonstrated by the high number of rail workers represented by the TURWTC.  During the meeting, the Ukrainian delegation made it clear to SMART-TD that they were not interested in a one-sided project. They brought up that they are aware of the rising problem of assaults facing our members in transit and commuter service. Chairman Semerun offered that his union would like to engage in efforts to train our members in crisis management and de-escalation once they are on more solid ground.

Chairman Semerun didn’t need the services of the interpreter to express his gratitude to SMART-TD and our three representatives in this first meeting. Brother Semerun ended the call (in English) by saying, “I’m ready. I’m ready to build a partnership with SMART-TD.”

Please contact Dan Banks in the Cleveland office with any questions about donating at or by phone at (216) 227-5450.

Contributions can be mailed to:
SMART-TD (Ukraine assistance)
c/o Dan Banks
6060 Rockside Woods Blvd N., Suite 325
Independence, OH 44131