In another step forward for SMART and the unionized sheet metal industry, SM Local 66 (Seattle) and SMACNA-Western Washington announced a joint initiative – the first in the industry – to make lactation pods available to new mothers, starting in April 2023. This is an important step that will help mothers in the sheet metal trade return to work without compromising convenience, privacy and comfort.

“They’ll have a seat, sink, HVAC, electricity for the breast pump and phone chargers, plus a refrigerator to keep the breast milk cold during the remaining hours of the workday,” reads a SMACNA-Western Washington press release. “The lactation pods are designed for comfort and accessibility and will keep women from the embarrassment of getting walked in on. They will also make it easier to keep breast milk fresh, reduce the difficulty of locating and getting to a private space and provide storage for their pumping gear.”

Returning to work as a new mother has historically been a very different experience for tradeswomen compared with those working in an office, for example. Many SMART sisters in the Pacific Northwest have reported that they frequently had to pump in places where privacy and peace of mind were anything but guaranteed, including port-a-potties, cars and more.

The Local 66-SMACNA-Western Washington partnership will aim to rectify those concerns: Through an exclusive partnership with a custom fabricator, the SMACNA-Western Washington press release adds, “the clean, sanitary pods will be digitally secure via an app.”

Local 66 – both leadership and the local’s Women’s Committee – collaborated with SMACNA-Western Washington, the Northwest Labor Management Organizational Trust and the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC to raise funds for this landmark project. In addition to providing vital services to new mothers, the lactation pods will help strengthen Local 66 and SMART as our union seeks to grow across North America.

“This type of initiative demonstrates our ongoing commitment to progress; to making sure all workers are welcome on the job,” said SMART General President Joseph Sellers. “This is a groundbreaking first step as we continue to organize workers across our two nations.”

The National Mediation Board (NMB) announced that Harry Hoglander, NMB board member since 2002, has been designated as the new Chairman of the NMB, effective immediately.
Read the NMB press release, here:
NMB logo; National Mediation BoardJuly 5, 2017
Contact: NMB Public Information Line — (202) 692-5050
Re: Hoglander Assumes NMB Chairmanship
Washington, D.C. — The National Mediation Board (NMB) is pleased to announce that Harry R. Hoglander has been named Chairman of the National Mediation Board, effective July 1, 2017. Linda Puchala remains as a Member of the Board.
Mr. Hoglander, a Member of the National Mediation Board since August 6, 2002, has previously served as Chairman in: 2004-2005, 2007-2008, 2010-2011, 2012-2013 and 2014-2015. He was first confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 2002, reconfirmed for a second term on December 8, 2006, a third term on July 24, 2009, and a fourth term on August 5, 2013.
Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Hoglander served as a Legislative Specialist in the office of Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts with responsibilities in Transportation issues including aviation, rail and maritime, Labor, Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Mr. Hoglander has an extensive background in the aviation industry and labor relations, having flown as a Captain for Trans World Airline (TWA) and being elected Master Chairman of TWA’s Master Executive Council. He was also elected Executive Vice-President of the Air Line Pilots Association. After leaving TWA, Mr. Hoglander was named Aviation Labor Representative to the United States Bi-Lateral Negotiating Team by then Secretary of State James Baker.
Mr. Hoglander was also a pilot in the United States Air Force, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He graduated from Suffolk University Law School and is a member of the Florida Bar.
Mr. Hoglander and his wife Judith reside in Gloucester Massachusetts. They have six children.
The National Mediation Board is an independent Federal agency established by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor-management relations within two key transportation sectors of the United States and U.S. territories: the railroads and airlines. The National Mediation Board is an independent Federal agency established by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor-management relations within two key transportation sectors of the United States and U.S. territories: railroads and airlines.


John P. Schneider, 54, of Spokane Valley, Wash., was hit and killed by a Union Pacific train while working near the Wallula train yard in Walla Walla County, Wash., Jan. 31.
Schneider had been a member of Local 1505 in Spokane, Wash., since 2004. He loved to read, was a survivalist enthusiast and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Schneider is survived by his wife, Karen; two sons, John Patrick and Jacob; two daughters, Jackie (Dan) Cook and Jessica (Brandon) Grimmett; three grandchildren, Lucy, Calvin and Olive; a sister, Marcie (Kelly) Roberts; and a brother, Cliff Schneider. His parents, John and Marjorie Schneider, preceded him in death.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 14111 E. 16th Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99037. The family will receive friends at 1 p.m., prior to services at the church.
Click here to view the official obituary and to leave condolences for the family.
A GoFundMe account has been set up by Local 1505 to help the family with expenses. Click here to make a donation.
SMART TD extends their condolences to the Schneider family, friends and members of Local 1505.

oil-train-railOLYMPIA, Wash. – State lawmakers gave final approval April 24 to a bill meant to increase oil train safety.

The bill was taken up in response to the uptick in oil train traffic in the region. It directs oil taxes to help pay for oil-train spill response. It also imposes public disclosure requirements for railroad companies operating in Washington.

Read the complete story at Radio Station KOUW.

washington_stateThe state House on April 14 passed its version of a bill that would impose new safety regulations on oil shipped through Washington by rail, boat and pipeline.

The modified version of a bill that cleared the Senate in March passed the House with a 58-40 bipartisan vote.

Read the complete story at the Seattle Times.

washington_stateOLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington House of Representatives voted 84-14 March 10 to pass Rep. Derek Stanford’s (D – Bothell) bill to strengthen safety regulations for the transportation of railroad workers to and from work.

Prior to 1977, railroad companies operated van services to transport railroad employees between various work locations throughout the state. The Utilities and Transportation Commission was given oversight over the safety of the van service, and established safety regulations regarding drivers and vehicle conditions.

However, railroad companies no longer manage the van services, and private shuttle companies have stepped in to fill the market need. These shuttles are driven all over the state, in all terrains and poor conditions, and the drivers often lack qualifications or have a history of violations. The UTC has no regulatory authority over the now-private van services, which have resulted in numerous fatal accidents in the past several years.

“There’s an old saying among railroad workers,” Stanford said. “That railroad work is dangerous work, but the most dangerous part of the job is the ride there. We can do better with our safety requirements. We can update our laws to reflect the new way these companies operate.”

Stanford’s House Bill 1808 would give the UTC regulatory authority over private railroad crew transportation services.

HB 1808 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

washington_stateOLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Republican-controlled Senate could set a national precedent with a bill passed Monday night (March 9) that would require up to two railroad workers in the rear of trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous cargo.

Currently, BNSF Railway, the largest freight hauler in Washington, is not required to carry rear brakeman in any of the 28 states where it operates, according to Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman.

Read the complete story at The Seattle Times.

oil-train-railThe Washington Department of Ecology on Monday delivered a report to state legislators outlining key recommendations to improve public safety in response to the rapid increase of crude-by-rail shipments through the state.

The Washington Legislature requested the study due to recent changes in how crude is transported through rail corridors and waterways. The “Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study” includes 40 recommendations on ways to better protect public health and safety — such as the prevention of an oil train derailment or spill — as well as how to better respect tribal treaty rights.

Read the complete story at Progressive Railroading.

BNSF Railroad will invest $235 million in its system in Washington state this year, nearly double the amount invested in 2013.

This suggests that the company is continuing to upgrade a system that supported $28.5 billion in state economic activity, according to a study released Monday.

Read the complete story at Puget Sound Business Journal.

Two railroad companies want to prevent the public from getting details about oil shipments through Washington state, information the federal government ordered be given to state emergency managers after several oil-train accidents.

But restricting such information violates the state’s public-records law, so the state has not signed documents from the rail companies seeking confidentiality, said Mark Stewart, a spokesman for the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division.

Read the complete story at The Seattle Times.