William “Larry” Foster, a SMART Transportation Division Alumni Association member and retiree from Local 226 (Moberly, Mo.) who proudly served our union as Missouri’s state legislative director for the better part of two decades, passed away May 4 at his home. He was 80.

Foster

Foster began as state legislative director in April 1992 and was re-elected to multiple terms leading the state legislative board until his retirement in 2008. He also worked as a conductor for Norfolk Southern.

“Larry was the one early on in my railroad career that got me interested in our legislative department and helped guide me as a new legislative representative and executive board member until his retirement in 2008,” said current Missouri State Legislative Director Jason Hayden (Local 1405, St. Louis, Mo.). “His legacy and imprint on this board will never be forgotten, and he will be dearly missed.”

A U.S. Army veteran, having served from 1959-68, Brother Foster was a member of the Moberly Masonic Lodge and the Sweet Springs Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda; daughters Lori Barrier (Ronnie) and Toni Stock, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A visitation is planned 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 9, 2022, at the Cater Funeral Home Chapel, 1520 E. Rollins, Moberly, MO 65270. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Cater Funeral Home Chapel with burial following in Memorial Park Cemetery.

SMART Transportation Division offers its condolences to Brother Foster’s family, friends and the union brothers and sisters in Missouri who mourn his passing.

Follow this link to view Foster’s official obituary and to leave condolences for the family.

A number of questions have arisen regarding the union’s ongoing educational efforts, Transportation Division Chief of Staff Jerry Gibson sat down for a Q&A clarifying the purpose of the 2022 SMART Transportation Division Annual Meeting and discussing how these efforts have changed as a result of the pandemic.

The SMART Transportation Division is pleased to announce the first joint SMART Union Annual Leadership Conference. The event will replace the former TD Regional Meetings, which have had a two-year pandemic disruption. Please pay close attention to the following details as several changes have been made.

The 2022 Annual Leadership Conference is scheduled to take place Aug. 8-11 at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square, 333 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, CA 94102. The conference will be reserved for state board and general committee officers and the event includes the Sheet Metal Business Agents’ meeting.

Details regarding costs, registration and schedule for the 2022 Annual Leadership Conference will be communicated as finalized and will be posted in the Member Portal on the union website.


Regional Training Seminar model to continue

For SMART-TD local officers, we are excited to continue our training strategy established during the COVID-19 pandemic of true “regional meetings.” The Regional Training Seminar (RTS) model was established to provide training close to the local in efforts to reduce the sometimes-prohibitive financial expense related to sending officers to these educational events. By providing training at multiple geographic locations and dates throughout the year, it will greatly assist in removing some of the logistical obstacles for local officers who want to attend.

During 2021, SMART-TD held four RTS in strategic locations that provided thorough and practical training for local officers. All were very well attended and received. General Chairpersons and SLDs will identify locations where there’s a demand for training and assist with organizing the event. We encourage locals and their officers to reach out if they would like an RTS. Once host locations are identified and chosen, information will be shared on our website and social media platforms about how to attend. 

In addition, online SMART University training for members and officers will be made available in the very near future. In-person local secretary & treasurer workshops also will continue to be offered by SMART-TD and promoted on the TD Local Toolbox page when details are finalized.

Training is the backbone of our organization and SMART Transportation Division leadership is committed to bringing access to educational materials to all members and officers.

A more detailed article with additional information about the new structure of SMART-TD’s educational efforts will be released very soon.

CLEVELAND (April 6) — Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure are asking the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to take action on a 2008 Congressional mandate to address rail worker fatigue at Class I carriers, with a specific reference to attendance policies such as those imposed at CSX, Union Pacific, and BNSF.

In an April 6 joint letter to FRA Administrator Amit Bose, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, remind the FRA Administrator of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), which established a law requiring railroads to implement fatigue management and reduction plans.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio

“The Congressional mandate to mitigate fatigue among crewmembers and other safety-related workers is now a decade late,” Rep. DeFazio and Rep. Payne wrote. “Crewmembers and other craft workers have raised their concerns about being excessively exhausted at work, which is worsened by PSR. These workers cannot wait any longer, and neither can the communities through which trains travel. To mitigate attendance policies that contribute to fatigue and help ensure all safety-related workers are rested and prepared to do the job safely, we respectfully urge your agency to issue the fatigue risk management program final rule without delay, require its swift implementation, and meaningfully enforce it to ensure that the 2008 bipartisan Congressional mandate is met.”

U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr.

In the letter, Rep. DeFazio and Rep. Payne lay the cause of fatigue at the feet of the nation’s Class I railroads. The industry’s self-inflicted problems, such as inaccurate train lineups and the implementation of harsh attendance policies, contribute greatly to rail worker fatigue.

“We believe that attendance policies that not only contribute to fatigue but also penalize workers for taking off when fatigued or ill simply cannot co-exist with any serious fatigue risk management program,” the Representatives wrote. “Rather, these policies could incentivize employees to show up to work fatigued in order to avoid reprimand or termination. They also ignore the unfortunate reality that crewmembers already have unpredictable and unreliable schedules, which makes this line of work difficult for many, even before policies that further restrict their lives and abilities to obtain proper rest.”

Rep. DeFazio and Rep. Payne are also highly critical of the industry’s implementation of the so-called precision scheduled railroading (PSR) business operating model.

“Class I carriers have substantially reduced the size of their workforces since implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR) at the behest of Wall Street investors. Unions representing railroad workers and individual workers have sounded the alarm on rail worker fatigue, which they believe is worsened by the deployment of PSR and the resulting push to do more work with nearly one-third fewer people on the job.”

Leaders of the nation’s two largest railroad unions, which represent the nation’s train operating crews, applauded the April 6 letter.

“We want to make it clear that we are fighting attendance policies at all Class I carriers. Fatigue has long been a problem at CSX, UP, BNSF, NS and other rail carriers, but it has been made much worse because of extreme job cuts resulting from the implementation of PSR coupled with the industry’s determination to force harsh attendance policies upon the remaining workforce,” said SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and BLET National President Dennis Pierce. “SMART-TD and the BLET have also put the issue on the table in our national negotiations, currently in mediation, demanding that all imposed attendance policies be rescinded with negotiated attendance contract rules to take their place. On behalf of our members, we thank Representative DeFazio and Representative Payne for shining a light on this pressing issue in our industry and being vocal leaders for rail worker safety.”

Read the representatives’ letter (PDF)

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The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of crafts in the transportation industry.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 57,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

FTA has not yet implemented worker safety provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

WASHINGTON – Today, 20 labor organizations representing transit drivers and other transportation workers urged Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez to immediately implement the safety provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to protect transit workers from assault.

Four months after the passage of the BIL, the FTA has yet to implement these safety provisions. Meanwhile, transit workers continue to face danger on the job.

Assaults against transit workers have long been a concern but dramatically increased during the last three years of the pandemic, as did assaults on other frontline transportation workers like airline and airport workers.

Labor unions representing frontline transit employees have responded to this crisis over the years through legislative and regulatory measures, most recently securing several provisions in the BIL to protect transit workers.

Because of the BIL, the FTA is now statutorily required to collect accurate data on transit workforce assaults, to reform its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) process to include worker voices and incorporate measures to reduce the risk of assault in every transit system, and to update its national safety plan to address the risk of assault and public health concerns.

The unions wrote: “Our members include bus and rail transit operators, station agents, car cleaners, mechanics and other frontline workers, all of whom are at risk of assault and worse each day they arrive at work. President Biden committed to protecting these workers and that promise was enshrined into law as part of the BIL. Before, and particularly during the COVID19 pandemic, these workers have laid their lives on the line every day to ensure Americans have access to safe, reliable transportation, and we must not turn our backs on them another day.”

Signers of the letter include the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO (TTD) and the nation’s largest transit unions, including the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers–Transportation Division (SMART-TD), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Transportation Communications Union/IAM (TCU).

The letter was also signed by the following unions: Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), Association of Flight Attendants–CWA (AFA), Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes–IBT (BMWED), Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (IOMM&P), International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU (NCFO), Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS).

Read the letter here.

Attention all SMART-TD and BLET members! Tonight at 7:00 p.m. central standard time (8:00 p.m. EST), SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and BLET President Dennis Pierce will be airing a joint interview on the Rails Tails & Trails YouTube channel, which can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/6N9r6QIGqA8.

Presidents Ferguson and Pierce will be providing updates on recent developments with BNSF’s HiViz attendance policy, commentary on our national rail contract negotiations, and discussion of other important issues affecting members of both Unions. 

As additional information, beginning at 6:00 p.m. CST (7:00 p.m. EST), Rails Tails & Trails host Jon Chaffin will be doing a giveaway for supporters of his channel. All members are encouraged to tune in, subscribe to the channel, and leave your feedback in the comments section. We are looking forward to finding out if you think the interview is informational, and if you would like the presidents to join a future episode on the Rails Tails & Trails podcast. If so, please comment on which issues you would like to see them discuss. 

We thank you for your continued support as we work diligently to keep all members informed!

Local 759 (Paramus, N.J.) President and Legislative Representative Rafael Becerra met with Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Tom Carper and Gov. John Carney on Friday, March 4, in Wilmington, Del., as part of an event promoting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), formerly known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Pictured, from left, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Local 759 (Paramus, N.J.) President/Legislative Representative Rafael Becerra, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Delaware Gov. John Carney pose for a photo during an event at the DART First State facility in Wilmington, Del., on Friday, March 4.

Brother Becerra, a veteran bus operator for Community Coach based out of New Jersey, frequently travels the main thoroughfares between the states and has been a SMART-TD member since November 1984.

“It was a great honor in meeting Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, Gov. Carney and Sen. Carper,” Becerra said. “The infrastructure law will accomplish a big transformation in our nation — not just the conditions of our roads and bridges — but in how people get around via bus and transit.”

Becerra has been a bus driver for nearly four decades and helped to evacuate people in conjunction with the Jan. 7, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and to transport soldiers to defend the area for President Biden’s inauguration. His experience was chronicled in the March/April 2021 SMART-TD News on Page 7.

“All of our bus members here in New Jersey and from coast to coast take extreme pride in doing their job safely day after day,” said New Jersey State Legislative Director Ron Sabol, who also attended the event. “For decades, President Becerra has served as a dependable bus operator, and he’s helping the membership in two roles as an elected officer. I’m very proud of his work and his leadership.”

The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, of which the SMART Transportation Division is a proud member, released the following statement on March 1 after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, president and secretary-treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the below statement in response to President Biden’s first State of the Union (SOTU) address to the nation.

“From the passage of the American Rescue Plan to the biggest investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history, the first year of the Biden Administration was a capstone year of legislative victories for transportation labor unions and working people.

“Chief among these legislative victories is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), a once-in-a-generation investment across every sector of our transportation network — and an unprecedented investment in workers. 

“We proudly represent 36 labor unions whose members will be put to work during the implementation of this historic legislation, ushering in a new era of manufacturing, construction, and transportation job creation. We applaud President Biden for putting union job creation and worker empowerment at the center of his governing agenda.

“We welcome the progress of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which recently released a report outlining 70 recommendations to empower workers, including an initiative to increase worker awareness of their federally protected rights to organize and establish a resource center for information on unions and collective bargaining.

“We urge Congress to heed the President’s call to pass the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would help workers collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

“We look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and the Administration to create good union jobs, invest in America’s transportation infrastructure, and expand collective bargaining for every transportation worker in the nation.”

Attention SMART TD members!

On Feb. 28, SMART is launching its new website. This site offers SMART TD and its members a greater level of security and utility compared with the older design. Important union information will now be secured behind a login and the news and resources that matter most to you as a SMART TD member will be easier to find and access.

With this change, it is now necessary for SMART TD members to sign up for a members’ portal account to access these resources.

To set up an account, go to https://smart-union.org/members/login and click on “New to SMART portal? Create an account.” and then click on “I’m a Transportation Division member.”

To sign up for an account, you will need an email address, your name, your local number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Please note that if the last four digits of your Social Security number are not on file or if the data the union has on file is mismatched with what is entered to create the account (for instance “Bill” for the first name instead of “William”), you will be unable to log in to access Member Portal resources.

If you find yourself having difficulty establishing your new web account, please call the TD Public Relations Department at 216-227-5283 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern or send an email to smartmobiledev@smart-union.org, and we will work to resolve the issue.

Once you have established this account, an email will be sent to the address you’ve provided. After clicking the link in that email, your login will be established, and you will be able to browse and add favorite resources for ready access, then be able to easily retrieve them every time you log in to the Member Portal.

For website support issues or suggestions about resources to add, you can also contact the Transportation Division PR Department at 216-227-5283 or email websupport@smart-union.org. Since this is a general email address for all users, please include that you are a TD member in your message along with your name and local number (if known).

On Sept. 9, SMART General President Joseph Sellers and a delegation of union officials including SM Local 28 (NYC & Long Island- BT) Business Manager Eric Meslin, Business Manager Dante Dano from Local 137 (NYC Sign) and Alt. Vice President/General Chairperson Anthony Simon from SMART TD GCA-505 (LIRR) traveled to the UBS Arena project to tour and meet members working on that project.

UBS Arena is a $1.5 billion multipurpose arena under construction in Elmont, N.Y., next to the historic Belmont Park racetrack. Thanks to the work of SMART members from SM Local 28 (Building Trades, NYC & Long Island ), SM Local 137 (Sign) in NYC and TD members affiliated with GCA-505 (Long Island), the arena is set to open this November.
The groundbreaking for the arena was held Sept. 23, 2019, and was attended by the governor of New York along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and officials, alumni and current players from the NY Islanders, who will call the arena their home.

Unique to this project is the presence of SMART members from across the union, including Local 137 sign members who installed the giant center ice board as well as signage across the arena and in the train station newly built to handle the swarm of fans from across Long Island and the NY metropolitan area.

Much as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted work and events across the world, this arena project was no different. On March 27, 2020, construction was paused due to a state order to stop non-essential construction work until April 21. That pause was further extended several times to May 27, 2020, when construction was finally able to resume.
Unique to this project is the presence of SMART members from across the union, including Local 137 sign members who installed the giant center ice board as well as signage across the arena and in the train station newly built to handle the swarm of fans from across Long Island and the NY metropolitan area. SMART-TD members led the way in constructing the Long Island Rail Road track leading to the new station. SMART Local 28 sheet metal workers were instrumental in seeing various critical pieces come together across the facility, installing all parts of the HVAC system, including ductwork, units, fans, fire dampers and smoke purge systems. SMART members also installed architectural features, including roofing and decking, and specialty work such as kitchen equipment, lockers and toilet partitions.
Beneath the brick façade of the building is one of the most ultramodern spectator venues in the world, with large air shafts designed to safely handle the indoor air and lines of sight that allow even fans at the highest levels to feel close to the on-ice action. The concourses at the spacious arena are twice the size of those at the old Nassau Coliseum, whose dimensions this new arena replicates to preserve the feel of the old facility. The Islanders played in the previous arena from 1972 to their elimination during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The Islanders’ dressing room area, built in large part by Local 28 building trades and Local 137 sign members, is a replica of the facilities at their training site, at the request of the team.
In keeping with new innovations started by other franchises in places like Foxboro, Mass., where entire sports villages were built around stadium complexes, the Islanders plan on turning the arena into a destination where fans can not only go to cheer on their local team, but also to eat, shop and find multiple sources of entertainment.

Adjacent to the arena is the first new train stop built for the Long Island RailRoad in over 50 years, thanks to the work of SMART-TD members. The new train station will be located between the Queens Village and Bellerose stations on the LIRR’s main line, straddling the Cross Island Parkway. Electric shuttle buses will serve LIRR riders traveling to games, as well as to the Belmont Park grandstand and retail village planned for the area surrounding the arena complex. The new full-time station will relieve pressure on the existing Belmont spur station during major events like the Belmont Stakes and Islander regular-season games.

In addition to providing regular service to and from the new arena and surrounding sites, the station will also serve as a commuter hub for area residents, meeting the urgent need of taking cars off the road during intense periods of rushhour travel. The parking lot north of the Belmont racetrack, which has 2,860 spaces, will be shared by commuters and arena patrons.

Building the new station required upgrades to the existing LIRR Belmont spur, including the installation of automated track switches. These upgrades will allow trains leaving the spur after an event to serve stations both east and west of Belmont – providing another post-event public transit option for attendees and facilitating the efficient flow of attendees to and from events.

Road conductors are providing all of the roadway worker protection for the third-party contractors being used to support the project.
SMART-TD track workers from Local 29 are providing all of the switch and track work to support the infrastructure around the new station, as well as the interlockings that will manipulate trains to the location. Once the project is complete, train crews and maintenance of equipment members will run and support service operations at the station.

SMART-TD track workers from Local 29 are providing all of the switch and track work to support the infrastructure around the new station.

Currently, 60 SMART Local 28 sheet metal workers are employed at the location. This includes members working at Triple S Air Systems and Eastern Metal Works performing HVAC work around the facility, including work on ducts, units, fans, fire dampers and smoke purge systems. Architectural work onsite was performed by Local 28 members working for JC Steel Corp, L Martone and Sons and Metropolitan Roof Systems. The work includes decking, metal roofing, and coping. Specialty work onsite is performed by Donco Inc., Cross Country Kitchens and A.LISS & Company. This work includes installation of toilet partitions, lockers, walk-in boxes, kitchen hoods and kitchen equipment. Testing and balancing onsite is currently being performed by All City Testing & Balancing. All of the above contractors are signatory to Local 28.
SMART Local 137 sheet metal workers fabricated and installed the massive jumbotron hoisted above center ice, thanks to members employed at Northshore Neon who also installed the center hung led display, sign letters as well the LED ribbons. The LED ribbons surrounding two levels of the stadium will be used for advertisements and keeping spectators abreast during the game. Exterior lights and signage were also installed exclusively by Local 137 sign members as well as signage across the facility.


The day after the visit to members at the UBS Arena, SMART General President Sellers spoke as the keynote speaker at the LaborPress annual celebration in the Bronx.

LaborPress is one of the largest labor news organizations in the nation. It was founded in August 2009 by LaborPress President Neal Tepel to provide a media outlet for unions and workers. Their articles regularly appear in the New York Daily News and on their website. iHeart radio’s WOR radio station features their daily reports.

LaborPress.org regularly has features on the construction and transportation industries. Most notably, LaborPress recently posted spotlight features on members from Locals 28, 137 and SMART-TD GCA-505. This also includes an op-ed in the NY Daily News from General President Sellers that called for passage of the entire infrastructure package, as well as the importance of keeping schoolchildren safe by addressing indoor air quality in schools.

During his lunchtime speech in front of an audience that included NY building trades and elected public officials, Sellers doubled down on his infrastructure points as he discussed the issues important to SMART SM and TD members, as well as other issues like the PRO Act, essential to all of labor.


“We are honored to have our general president attend this event as the keynote speaker. This event takes place in New York, where many labor leaders throughout the state will join us to hear Joe’s opinions on the labor movement and the infrastructure bills that we are fighting for in Washington,” Local 28’s Meslin said. Dano added that “this event shows that when we all stand together across the labor movement, our voices and actions are stronger than ever.” Simon summarized that “SMART has a history here in New York of standing with one another when we need each other.” Simon concluded that, “when SMART has each other’s backs in NY, it’s not just in words but in our actions.”