Author Archive

Make A Difference: Apply for the Belonging & Excellence Committee

SMART has long been committed to creating an environment of welcoming, belonging, and excellence for all of our members. However, SMART recognizes that not all individuals and groups are situated the same, with the same access to resources and opportunities.

Therefore, the BE 4 All effort is a targeted approach to ensure that all members, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, experience these universal goals.

We need a culture that enables our union to attract and retain the best, most skilled workers. And in doing so, affirms the dignity and worth of every human being who walks through our doors. We need to reinforce union solidarity so that each and every one of us has the other’s back. We need an industry that embodies professionalism – not only in our technical skills, but in the work environment we create, free from harassment, discrimination, bullying, and hazing. We need an industry where our members and contractors can do the best possible work efficiently and effectively. These are all critical ingredients to creating a thriving culture and industry. And SMART believes BE 4 ALL is the vehicle for how we make this happen.

SMACNA’s leadership shares our vision for transforming the industry. Over the last year we have engaged in numerous discussions with SMACNA’s leadership, as well as International Training Institute (ITI) representatives, to build alignment and a shared sense of purpose. To be clear, this effort is not about blaming or shaming individuals or granting special treatment to one segment of the membership over another. It is about increasing awareness about how we can create an environment for welcoming, belonging, and excellence – one that attracts and retains anyone who has the skills and desire to meet our culture of excellence.  It is about union solidarity.

To that end, we are seeking volunteers to join SMART’s Belonging and Excellence for All Committee. The Committee is a collective of 10 to 12 representatives who will help shape and guide this work over the next year. The Committee will work on SMART’s diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, as well as work collectively with SMACNA’s Committee and ITI representatives to ensure a broad and effective process.

Seven Other Things You Should Know About the Be 4 All Process:

  1. Committee members will help guide the overall direction of the diversity, equity, and inclusion work and make recommendations to leadership. The goal is a passionate and committed group with representation across regions, roles, and identities.
  2. SMART has appointed Donna Silverman, Assistant to the General President and Special Counsel, to staff the SMART Committee. From SMACNA, Joye Blanscett, Dir. Of Labor Services, will help staff the SMACNA Committee. Dushaw Hockett, our outside belonging and excellence expert, will provide facilitation and technical support. Donna, Joye, and Dushaw will coordinate our combined efforts.
  3. On the question of time commitment, it’s envisioned that Committee members will meet at least twice per month through October 2022. Total time commitment (including meetings, emails, document review, etc.) is expected to be a minimum of 6 hours per month. Most meetings will be conducted virtually, with the exception of a few in-person meetings if they can be held safely.
  4. To apply, please visit this link and provide a short (one paragraph) statement of interest. Also share your answers (encouraged but not required) to the 8 identity/demographic questions that follow, as we are seeking to build a team that reflects diversity in all areas.
  5. Staff and leadership will select Committee members based on the content of their statements of interest, and with an eye toward representation from across the organization.
  6. Because the goal is to embody diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our work, including this process, if there is overwhelming interest in serving on the Committee, we may propose a modified structure.
  7. Applications are due by Friday, October 15, 2021.
We’re building this together. Please let us know if you have questions or feedback regarding the DEI process or application form.
Much appreciation. Forward we go.
Joseph Sellers, Jr.
SMART General President

SMART Statement on Passage of Senate Infrastructure Package

Washington, D.C.  The Senate passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package yesterday and, early this morning, the Senate approved its $3.5 trillion 2022 budget resolution for physical and human infrastructure investments.

In response, SMART issued the following statement:

“Together, the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and budget resolution represent a historic opportunity for millions of Americans by making the largest infrastructure investment in almost a century. This infrastructure package is a blue-collar blueprint that has the potential to create a generation of good-paying middle class union jobs and boost economic growth because it invests in long overdue projects, technological advancements and rewards work, not wealth. This historic investment has the potential to expand clean energy infrastructure, improve indoor air quality in our schools, housing and public buildings, expand public transportation and rail systems, and better protect our bus and transit members from assaults.

While we appreciate the vision, determination and collaboration of the Biden administration and lawmakers on the bipartisan legislation, we still have work to do to resolve outstanding issues and strengthen this legislation. As the package moves forward, SMART is committed to working with Congress and the Biden administration to ensure that robust funding for school construction, labor standards reflected in the PRO Act, and adequate rail safety provisions (such as those incorporated into the House’s INVEST Act) are included and applied to all aspects of the legislation to truly create millions of good union jobs and deliver on the build back better agenda.”


NYC Sheet Metal Locals Team Up With TD Counterparts to Benefit LaborPress

SMART Sheet Metal Business Managers Dante Dano (SM Local 137) and Eric Meslin (SM Local 28) are teaming up with GCA-505 Long Island Rail Road General Chairperson Anthony Simon to plan an annual golf outing in Bronx, N.Y. to benefit LaborPress.

LaborPress is one of the largest labor news organizations in the nation. They were 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. regularly has features on the transportation and building trades industries, which is why our union is happy to help them out with their golf outing. Most notably, LaborPress recently posted spotlight features on Simon, Dano, Meslin and General President Joe Sellers.

The keynote speaker for the event is none other than SMART General President Sellers. During his lunchtime speech, Sellers plans to discuss infrastructure issues important to both the transportation and sheet metal sides of the union, as well as the need for more unionized workers in the workforce. Also speaking during the event are representatives from the AFL-CIO and the North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU). Legislators are expected to attend as well.

“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,” Mesline said said. Dano added that “this event shows that when we all stand together with both transportation and building trades, our voices and actions are stronger than ever.”

The golf outing is being held Sept. 10, at the Pelham Bay Golf Course, 870 Shore Rd., Bronx, NY 10464.

Click here for a flyer with more information on costs and contacts.

SMART Statement on New Proposed Buy American Rules

SMART supports today’s efforts to enhance the effectiveness of Buy American provisions, which commits taxpayer funds to support good jobs and businesses in America.

Today’s actions represent the most robust and aggressive changes to the Buy America Act in decades and serve as an important step toward ensuring the full purchasing power of the federal government is leveraged towards supporting domestic production, union jobs and the national security of the United States.

The Biden Administration’s serious effort go beyond words and act on its priorities will grow the industries of the future to support U.S. workers, communities, and emerging industries.  These actions include not only plans to increase competitiveness, but also include billions of dollars in new purchases to support the manufacturing of new technologies and products in America.  New investments in workforce training and registered apprenticeship will further enhance opportunity for current and future generations of Americans to ensure American workers continue to lead the way well into the 21st century.

White House Fact Sheet (7/28/2021)

SMART Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

Washington, DC—Today, the White House announced its support for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, a $1.2 trillion investment in physical infrastructure.  In response, SMART issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement is an important breakthrough towards tackling our country’s crumbling infrastructure. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Biden administration to finalize this agreement and pass a broader package that encompasses all elements of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. By working on these two packages simultaneously, we believe we will meet the needs of our country, create good paying union jobs, combat climate change, and revitalize the economy equitably.

We stand committed to fulfilling President Biden’s mission of making our federal government a model employer by ensuring that every dollar allocated towards infrastructure complies with strong labor standards that guarantees good jobs and worker protections. This is an essential action the federal government must take to achieve a positive return on investment for taxpayers and our communities.”



Local 66 Teams Up With Girl Scouts

SMART SM Local 66 (Washington State) member Johnny Cassanova joined his daughter Olivia’s Girl Scout of America troop to give them a presentation about the sheet metal industry.

SJ Alexander and Vanessa Carman from Local 66 came out to teach the young girls about math and sheet metal, while helping them earn their “STEM” badge.

Working with toothpicks and marshmallows the troop built 3D shapes and were explained how math and geometry is used in sheet metal trades. They ended their event by building a set of dad and daughter toolboxes. The scout leader let them know that this was an inspiring event for these young girls who had not been introduced to the trades before.

According to Carman, “we hope to continue to introduce young women to a fulfilling career in sheet metal, as we look to pass down what we’ve learned to a new generation of sheet metal workers.”  She added that “to be successful at outreach, it’s important to introduce the trade to children when they are young and include it in their aspirations for a future career.”


SMART Statement on E.O. 14017 America’s Supply Chains

Washington, DC­—On Tuesday, the Biden Administration released a report in response to Executive Order (E.O.) 14017 “America’s Supply Chains.” The report outlines immediate actions the Administration will take to strengthen American supply chains to promote economic security, national security, and good-paying, union jobs in the United States.

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) issued the following response:

“The Biden Administration continues to demonstrate that it prioritizes the needs of American workers and their families. We value the Administration’s commitment to revitalizing domestic competitiveness and strengthening supply chains to promote economic security and good-paying, union jobs here at home. SMART members are committed to helping jump start manufacturing activity in the U.S. and we look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration to strengthen American supply chains, create union jobs and push for the passage of the American Jobs Plan.”



Save the Date: 2022 Partners In Progress Conference

Website Headline: Save the Date – 2022 PinP Conference


Informz Summary: The brand-new Resorts World Las Vegas will serve as the setting on March 1-2, 2022 for SMACNA and SMART to come together for the 2022 Partners in Progress Conference…


Article Summary: Building the Future Together is the theme of this must-attend event for all SMACNA member contractors, chapter executives, and future leaders.



The brand-new Resorts World Las Vegas will serve as the setting on March 1-2, 2022 for SMACNA and SMART to come together for the 2022 Partners in Progress Conference! This bi-annual conference will once again foster an environment for both labor and management to expand on their current relationships, share relevant information, and continue building the future together.


This fully collaborative event will feature top-notch keynote speakers, valuable educational sessions where you will learn innovative strategies to work together for a stronger and mutually beneficial future, and most importantly, numerous opportunities to network with both your SMACNA colleagues and SMART counterparts where ideas can be shared.


Registration for the 2020 Partners in Progress Conference officially opens September 8, 2021, and additional information regarding the Conference is available at the official 2022 PinP Conference website.


Additionally, you can receive updates on the 2022 Partners in Progress Conference on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

SMART Statement On Nation’s First Director of OMB Made In America Office

Yesterday, President Biden announced that Celeste Drake will serve as the Nation’s first Director of the Made in America Office at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

SMART issued the following response:

“We applaud the Biden Administration for its continued commitment to prioritizing workers, revitalizing our economy, and creating union, family-sustaining jobs. This new position will be critical in shaping and implementing Federal policy to carry out the President’s vision of future manufacturing focused on ensuring goods are made in America by American workers.
There is no better customer of American made goods than the Federal government which can use the size of its purchasing power to make a sizable difference and jump start manufacturing activity in the US. Celeste Drake is an experienced advocate for working people with the necessary experience and expertise on advocating for workers around trade issues. We look forward to working with her in this new role to rebuild our infrastructure, create union jobs and restore the middle class.”


SMART Statement on American Families Plan

Yesterday, President Biden released the American Families Plan and delivered an address to a joint session of Congress. In response, SMART issued the following statement.

“After his first 100 days in office, it is clear, President Biden is delivering on his promise to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our country and revitalize our economy. He recognizes that a strong middle class is the backbone of our country and is committed to pursuing structural changes to lift all boats.

His American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan provide necessary investments in our country to make life better for Americans. The American Jobs Plan will rebuild our country’s physical infrastructure and workforce. It calls for the passage of the PRO Act, which will empower workers to exercise their freedom to organize for a better life and create good paying union jobs. The American Families plan will invest in our children and families through education, healthcare and paid family and medical leave policies. These two plans make it clear that infrastructure and economic policy are inseparable from family policy. To build back better, we must invest in our workers and the middle class, so all of our families succeed now and into the future.

President Biden knows what we have known for a long time—the middle class built this country and unions built the middle class. President Biden laid out his plan to invest in working families and we look forward to working with the Biden Administration and Congress to enact it.”

Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department Report

The Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department is excited to relaunch the Department’s Report in the Member’s Journal and online.  This page is devoted to news for members belonging to the local unions and General Committees under this Department. Be sure to check future issues for the latest updates coming from the Department.


International Representative Charles Fraley Retires

On December 31, 2020, Charles (Charlie) J. Fraley retired as an International Representative for the SMART Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department. He was appointed to the position on October 1, 2004.  As an International Representative, he negotiated, interpreted and applied agreements covering wages, hours, health benefits and other conditions of employment and represented employees in all conferences, negotiations or other proceedings with management. He also appeared and represented employees before any tribunal authorized to consider or adjust claims arising out of the interpretation or application of such agreements.

Prior to accepting the position of International Representative, Brother Fraley was General Chairperson for the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association. He serviced the commuter railroads in the Northeast along with Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Springfield Terminal and D&H Railroad.

He hired on Penn Central Railroad in November 1975 as a laborer. In June 1976, shortly after Conrail was created, he became a sheet metal worker. He was Local Chairperson/President of Local Union 398 for seventeen years prior to accepting a full-time position as General Chairperson.

During his time working for the railroad, Brother Fraley was Chairman of the Selkirk Safety Committee, Co-Chairman of the Selkirk Safety Committee, Chairman of the Conrail Labor & Management Program, Chairman of various Conrail Quality Improvement teams, Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator, and Environmental Specialist. He was a member of the NRAB on the Second Division and various RSAC committees.

Brother Fraley received a High School Diploma in 1975 from Colonie Central High School and completed the Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator classes at Hudson Valley Community College and AFL-CIO Organizing Institute.

The Department thanks Brother Fraley for his dedicated service to the membership and wishes him a long and well-deserved retirement.

In the interim, International Representative Larry Holbert will continue to work hard to assist the General Committees, locals, and members under the Department and ensure they receive the highest quality representation. Brother Holbert has 41 years of railroad service.

Brother Holbert started his career with Burlington Northern Railroad in August of 1979, working in the Maintenance of Way Department until October of 1989. He then transferred into the Railroad, Mechanical and Engineering Department as a sheet metal worker apprentice. On April 9, 1990, he completed his apprenticeship and became a journeyperson. In January of 1996, he was elected to the position of Local Chairperson for Local 259 in Alliance, Nebraska, and in October of 2006, he was elected as an Executive Board Member to the U.S. District Council of Railroads. In June of 2008, he was elected to the position of General Chairperson for the U.S. District Council of Railroads, and then in May of 2011, he became an International Representative for this Department. Brother Holbert served as an International Representative until his appointment as Department Director in September of 2011, and he worked in this position until October of 2012 after the passing of his son, Michael. He returned to the International Representative position at this time and is currently serving in this role.

Brother Holbert and his wife Theresa have been married for 35 years, and they have three children. Jeffery, their oldest, lives in Alliance, Nebraska working for BNSF RR as an engineer. Their second child, Michael, lived in Alliance, Nebraska and was an electrician for BNSF Railroad. Their third child, Sarah, also lives in Alliance along with their three grandchildren. Sarah is a secretary working at Trinidad Bean Company.

Department Director Tony Iannone retired at the end of June in 2020. As of July 2020, Assistant to the General President and Special Counsel Donna Silverman oversees the Department and works closely with the International Representatives to serve the membership.





Video: The Benefits of American Rescue Plan for SMART Members

In this month’s video address from SMART General President Joseph Sellers, he looks at the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan.

The plan does more than provide direct cash relief through payments to working Americans and resources for COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This critical legislation also provides long-sought help for multiemployer pension plans, puts Amtrak members back to work, boosts transit funding, provides COBRA assistance to jobless workers and funds a round of mitigation efforts to help get America’s schoolchildren back in the classroom through funds for air system monitoring and new HVAC retrofit work that will create sheet metal jobs.