With the beginning of a new spring, I am pleased to announce the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund (NPF) has been certified in the Green Zone after years of sacrifice and hard work on the part of NPF participants, local unions and employers. This is welcome news and has been a long time coming, but there is more work to be done to protect our retirement security. Additional information can be found at www.smwnpf.org.
There will be market corrections over time, and current events are impacting the investment market. The war in Ukraine and necessary sanctions on Russian aggression are going to have some effect back home. Anti-inflationary measures enacted and due to come from the Federal Reserve will also affect the market. We must continue to remain vigilant when it comes to the management of our funds and our members’ benefits.
We do not expect the NPF to flip back to Yellow from Green. If, for example, 2022 continues to be a challenging year for investments, and the NPF realizes an investment loss to the extent that it drops our funding level below the Green Zone threshold of 80%, we will not fall into the Yellow Zone. As long as the fund is projected to return to above 80% funding within a reasonable period of time, it will continue to be certified in the Green Zone.
Alongside this important milestone, we have seen even more progress in Washington, D.C., as we are working successfully with an administration that has been in lockstep with this union and member needs.
Last month, with the stroke of a pen, President Biden injected a massive boost into our industry by requiring the use of Project Labor Agreements for federally funded projects above $35 million.
Last month, with the stroke of a pen, President Biden injected a massive boost into our industry by requiring the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for federally funded projects above $35 million. These agreements will allow the nation to rebuild and stimulate an influx of new union jobs. The administration also announced improvements to Davis-Bacon surveys to better protect area prevailing wages. This includes a proposal to extend coverage to construction of modules in off-site permanent plants on secondary construction site(s) so long as the portion or modules are significant and constructed for the specific use of the project.
Our sisters and brothers in Canada have embarked on a grassroots-style letter writing and social media campaign, along with other platforms, for a Skilled Trades Workforce Mobility Tax Deduction: engaging the federal government to follow through on its election and mandate letter commitment implementing tax fairness for construction workers. Their collective action now will prepare SMART and the Canadian Building Trade Unions (CBTU) for this and other important topics at their upcoming Legislative Conference scheduled this April in Ottawa.
At the same time, we still have challenges that we continue to face. The Hi-Viz policy recently enacted by BNSF is a slap in the face to the very railroaders who not only kept America’s supply chain moving during the pandemic, but also helped BNSF realize the greatest profits in company history. Their legal mechanizations included filing their lawsuit where they knew an anti-labor, pro-management judge would hear the case and render them a favorable decision. These maneuvers will not go unchallenged, and we will continue to fight back against this draconian, anti-worker policy. It is wrong headed, anti-American, and it belongs in a past “gilded age” we left over a century ago. I urge every member across this union to contact their congressional legislators by texting the words NOHiVIZ to 67336; tell Congress to get involved and take the side of our brothers and sisters working at BNSF.
While we will still face temporary setbacks and adversity, we have overcome much greater in the past – and by coming together to fight for each other and for working people across North America, we will do so again. I have no doubt that, together, our union will only grow stronger.
Please stay safe.
Fraternally and in unity,
SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr.
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