On September 15, 2023, members of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) working for the “Big Three” vehicle manufacturers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) — began their “stand up” strike, the first simultaneous strike against all Big Three companies in history. In the months following, SMART members across industry, craft and trade hit the picket line to stand with our UAW union siblings in their fight for better pay, working conditions and an economy that works for the working class.

Members of SMART-TD Local 278 (Jackson, Mich.) and General Committee GO 687 walked the line in Detroit, heart of the auto industry, on September 20: supporting the UAW Local 900 members outside of Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. TD members showed up on the strike’s first day, then again four days later to deliver bottled water and to show support, Local 278 Legislative Representative Tom Dillon said.

“A common conversation I had with most UAW workers both days was that this fight wasn’t just for them. It was for all of us … all of us working, middle-class people trying to live a great life. A life that our parents enjoyed through the fruits of their labor,” he said.

In Missouri, meanwhile, Local 36 (St. Louis) members were on the line day and night — working the grill to keep UAW Local 2250 strikers well-fed, then picketing alongside UAW members after sunset.

And during the SMART Transportation Division’s October Regional Training Seminar in Toledo, Ohio, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and other leaders were shoulder-to-shoulder with Toledo UAW Local 12, from Monday the 2nd through Friday the 6th — through rain, shine, day and night.

In November, UAW members ratified historic tentative agreements with Ford, Stellantis and GM, bringing the stand up strike to an end.

Brothers and sisters —

As the strike action of our brothers and sisters at the UAW moves forward, I wanted to reach out to all SMART-TD members and reiterate our support for the UAW and the goals they are working to achieve.

On Thursday, I reached out to our rail members to let you know that you have a right to refuse to service any facility that is under a picket if you feel your safety is at risk. This right is written into our SMART constitution.

All signs from the UAW are that their strike has the potential to go on for quite some time. Right now, the media and public are focusing on their struggle. This is good news for the labor movement, however, as the strike continues, this attention and support might get watered down.

SMART-TD’s rail members are prohibited by the Railway Labor Act to participate in a sympathy strike, which means we cannot stop coming to work for our employers. What we can do, in addition to not crossing the picket lines to service industries if our safety is in jeopardy, is that we can support the efforts of UAW when we aren’t on duty.

It is my hope that as a union, we will do everything we can to show our solidarity with UAW in their time of need. Like all unions, their strike fund is not robust enough to pay their members the salaries they need to live off of indefinitely. If you are interested in helping, please do what you can to support their cause.

Please get out and walk the line with our UAW brothers and sisters. If you can bring food to show your support that is always appreciated. I would love to see SMART-TD members showing up in SMART gear and lending a hand to this worthy cause.

We are prohibited from not working our jobs at the railroad in support of their strike, but we can show up on our own time and do as much as we can to be of service to their movement. Please join me in the effort to find a UAW demonstration, put on your SMART T-shirt, pick up some pizzas and let them know that we stand with them.

UAW workers are in this fight for the long haul. Any reinforcement our union can provide them will go a long way toward their fight and the labor movement throughout this country.

In solidarity, 

Jeremy R. Ferguson

President, Transportation Division

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s (FCAU.N) (FCHA.MI) U.S. workers soundly rejected a four-year contract the automaker had agreed with the UAW, the union said on Thursday, setting the stage for at least localized strikes against the automaker.

The tentative agreement was voted down by 65 percent of the 40,000 unionized workers who work at the 37 plants of Fiat Chrysler, the smallest of the three major Detroit automakers.

UAW President Dennis Williams is holding a meeting with 300 representatives from Fiat Chrysler union halls on Thursday to consider next steps.

Read more from Reuters.