Archive for the ‘Organizing/Meetings’ Category

GCA-953 organizing educational sessions

Attendees participate in an educational session in Topeka, Kan., on June 23. (Photo courtesy Zach Nagy)

The leadership of GCA-953 (Union Pacific) have kicked off a slate of educational sessions for local officers and members.

The first of six sessions took place June 22 and 23 in Topeka, Kan., with General Chairperson Luke Edington, Associate GC Ian Reynolds and Sr. Vice GC Zach Nagy hosting and teaching the classes.

The curriculum included training on serving as a union officer, an overview of officer duties, website training, filing a proper time claim, writing a discipline appeal and a mock arbitration session.

Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson made a guest appearance through Zoom, Vice President Brent Leonard spoke in person and Larry Romine from Reliable Retirement spoke through Zoom.

“We had attendees including local presidents, local chairpersons, vice local chairpersons and secretary/treasurers from four states in attendance,” Nagy said.

The GCA  has plans for five more sessions in Omaha, Cheyenne, Salt Lake City, Portland and Waukesha, Wis., as the summer progresses.

For more information about time and locations, email Nagy at znagy@utu953.org.

Hazmat training program to offer May courses

In May, the Hazardous Materials Training Program is planning to host two courses virtually:

  1. Disaster Recovery/Response Course (2 hours)
  2. DOT Hazardous Materials Awareness Course (8 hours over two days)

The Disaster Response Recovery course is training for workers and community members who live and work in areas that are likely to be impacted by a hurricane. The course satisfies the requirements to assist workers and communities in recovery from natural and man-made disasters. The class will be conducted May 17, 2021, at noon ET.

The DOT Hazardous Materials Awareness course, also called the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Course, provides safety and security awareness training that is required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for hazmat transportation workers. This course also provides OSHA first responder – awareness-level training. The course is intended for railroad workers who are involved in the transportation of hazmat and who may be the first on the scene or the first to witness a release of hazardous materials or be aware of a security threat. Various topics will be addressed during the 8-hour (4 hours per day) course held over two days such as the role of the first responder, federal regulatory agencies, DOT’s regulations on hazmat, recognizing and identifying hazmat in transportation and more (see flyer). The class is being offered May 19 – 20, 2021, and May 24 – 25, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. An incentive of $175 is available to participants who complete both days of this course.

Contact the Rail Workers Hazmat Training Program by calling 202-624-6963 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET Monday – Friday).

Click here for a flyer to hang at your workplace.

Click here to register.


The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is funded by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to provide hazmat training to rail workers.

The goal of this training initiative is to provide rail workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect themselves, the community, and the environment in a hazardous materials transportation emergency. To achieve this goal, the Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program provides rail workers, through quality hazardous materials training courses, the confidence in their knowledge and problem-solving skills to enable them to make change for safer work conditions.

Much of the training is provided by peer instructors who are full-time rail workers — members and/or local officers of affiliated rail unions.

Biden order creates task force to increase unionism

President Joe Biden on April 26 signed an executive order that created a Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment to increase union density and union organizing in the country.

The group will be led by Vice President Kamala Harris and DOL Secretary Marty Walsh and have more than 20 members of Biden’s Cabinet and heads of agencies involved, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.

“American workers have faced increasing barriers to organizing and bargaining collectively with their employers. Economic change in the United States and globally, technological developments, and the failure to modernize federal organizing and labor-management relations laws so they respond appropriately to the reality found in American workplaces have made worker organizing exceedingly difficult. The result has been a steady decline in union membership in the United States over past decades,” a White House fact sheet on the creation of the task force stated. “Since 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted, the policy of the federal government has been to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, not to merely allow or tolerate them. In the 86 years since the Act was passed, the federal government has never fully implemented this policy.”

The task force intends to, within 180 days, recommend ways that current policies, programs and practices can be used to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining in the federal government and identify where new policies, regulatory and statutory changes are needed to achieve the task force’s mission.

The goals set forth for the task force are:

  1. Lead by example by ensuring that the federal government is a model employer with respect to encouraging worker organizing and collective bargaining among its workforce.
  2. Facilitate worker organizing across the country by taking an all-of-government approach to mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs and practices to provide workers the opportunity to organize and bargain collectively.
  3. Increase worker power in underserved communities by examining and seeking to address the particular challenges to worker organizing in jurisdictions with restrictive labor laws; the added challenges that marginalized workers in many communities encounter, including women and people of color; and the heightened barriers to organizing workers in certain industries.
  4. Increase union membership across the United States to grow a more inclusive middle class and provide workers the opportunity to come together for the purpose of mutual advancement, the dignity of worker and workers, respect and the fair compensation they deserve.

Read an article on the task force by Business Insider.

Read a fact sheet on the task force.

Hazardous Materials Training Program to offer online courses in April

In April, the Hazardous Materials Training Program is planning to host three courses virtually:

  1. Disaster Recovery/Response Course (2 hours)
  2. COVID-19 and Infectious Disease Response Awareness Training Course (90 minutes)
  3. DOT Hazardous Materials Awareness Course (8 hours over two days)

The Disaster Response Recovery course is training for workers and community members who live and work in areas that are likely to be impacted by a hurricane. The course satisfies the requirements to assist workers and communities in recovery from natural and man-made disasters. The class will be conducted April 7, 2021, and April 9, 2021, at noon ET on both days.

The COVID-19 and Infectious Disease Response Awareness Training course is designed to increase workers’ knowledge of hazards they may encounter on a job site related to potential occupational exposures to SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. During this 90-minute course, attendees will learn what SARS-CoV-2 is, how it is spread, symptoms, how to protect workers, how to properly clean and disinfect your work area and about vaccinations for COVID-19. The online virtual training will include breakout groups, exercises and demonstrations. This course will be April 16 and April 23, 2021, at 2 p.m. ET on both days.

The DOT Hazardous Materials Awareness course, also called the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Course, provides safety and security awareness training that is required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for hazmat transportation workers. This course also provides OSHA first responder – awareness-level training. The course is intended for railroad workers who are involved in the transportation of hazmat and who may be the first on the scene or the first to witness a release of hazardous materials or be aware of a security threat. Various topics will be addressed during the 8-hour (4 hours per day) course held over two days such as the role of the first responder, federal regulatory agencies, DOT’s regulations on hazmat, recognizing and identifying hazmat in transportation and more (see flyer). The class is being offered April 19 – 20, 2021, and April 28 – 29, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. An incentive of $175 is available to participants who complete this course.

Contact the Rail Workers Hazmat Training Program by calling 202-624-6963 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET Monday – Friday).

Click here for a flyer to hang at your workplace.

Click here to register.


The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is funded by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to provide hazmat training to rail workers.

The goal of this training initiative is to provide rail workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect themselves, the community, and the environment in a hazardous materials transportation emergency. To achieve this goal, the Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program provides rail workers, through quality hazardous materials training courses, the confidence in their knowledge and problem-solving skills to enable them to make change for safer work conditions.

Much of the training is provided by peer instructors who are full-time rail workers — members and/or local officers of affiliated rail unions.

Members rally to save their jobs at Amtrak

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, members of SMART Transportation Division led the way, along with members of the BLET and TCU/IAM, uniting in cities across America to spread awareness about cuts coming to Amtrak if the Senate fails to act now. 

On Sept. 9, Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn appeared before a U.S. House committee saying that the carrier needs approximately $5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If no additional funding is provided by the federal government, the carrier has announced cuts, effective Oct. 1, of approximately 2,000 unionized employees and a planned reduction of service that would hit long-distance and state-run routes that serve rural areas especially hard. 

Rallies were scheduled by SMART-TD and other unions to take place a day before the planned cuts in four major cities: Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  

In a show of support for Amtrak funding and in an effort to raise awarenessWisconsin State Legislative Director Andy Hauck and Michigan State Legislative Director Donald Roach, with the help of Local 168 member Nate Hatton (Dearborn, Mich.), also led the members in conducting pop-up rallies in Milwaukee and Dearborn, Mich., respectively. 

Chicago 

SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson accused Amtrak management of setting up the nation’s major passenger carrier to fail at the rally in Chicago, “They [Amtrak’s Flynn and his board] want to take Amtrak and reduce it to a three-day-a-week service for a long-haul with a two-day layover here in Chicago when you’re trying to go from New York to L.A. How is that fair to the ridership? There’s no way that’s going to survive. That’s set up to fail. The couplets aren’t there. They can’t keep people moving. They’re setting us up to fail. 

Ferguson continued to address the assembled crowd, “We bust our butts, day in and day out, to give our country this service, and this is what the board wants to do. Now you guys have gone one step further, you Amtrak employees. You voted to waive off your pay increase this past July. You did what was best for this country and for Amtrak, didn’t you? How did you get repaid? With the threat of furlough tomorrow, right? Two thousand people could be in the streets tomorrow! 

Ferguson also pointed out that Amtrak management is restarting their salaries and 401(k) contributions coinciding with the Oct. 1 scheduled implementation date of furloughs of 2,000 union members. He also stated that Amtrak management has restructured their bonus program to better benefit themselves. 

“We’re not going to take that! We’re not going to stand for that! Not when you gave up your pay raises to protect this country and this service! Unheard of! So, let’s get busy out there! Let’s get fired up!  

Washington, D.C. 

Meanwhile, at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol building, SMART General President Joe Sellers gave a rousing speech to the crowd featuring many members employed by Amtrak who might lose their jobs. 

You are our essential workers. You are moving our essential workers. Every day, to the hospitals, to the first responders, to the police. You are moving America! We need to continue to make sure that you have the funding, to continue to make sure that you continue to move America through this pandemic! We need you! And we need Congress to make sure that they pass the HEROES Act. 

Sellers pointed out that the HEROES Act, or H.R. 6800, was relaunched on May 15, 2020, and has yet to be voted on by the U.S. Senate. “We need to make sure that the new relaunched HEROES Act is passed. To protect you. To protect essential workers. To protect the job that you do, day in and day out,” Sellers said. 

Sellers concluded his fiery speech by thanking our essential Amtrak members, “I want to thank you for the work that you do, and Congress should be thanking you for the work that you do day in and day out! We need the Senate to make sure that they take this seriously. The White House is dragging their feet. The Senate is dragging their feet. That is unacceptable! Thank you, brothers and sisters. We are going to make a difference and we are going to effect change. We are going to effect change in November, and we are going to carry this through. 

SMART-TD Alternate National Legislative Director Jared Cassity was also featured in a report that aired on Fox 5 News in D.C. at the rally and U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts also spoke at the rally. 

New York City and Los Angeles, Calif.

General Chairperson Anthony Simon (Long Island Railroad) and Scott Carey, legislative representative of Local 95 (Albany, N.Y.), took part in a rally with BLET and TCU members outside Penn Station, while California State Legislative Director Louis Costa led a morning demonstration in front of L.A.’s Union Station.  

Dearborn, Mich. 

In Dearborn, Hatton told the Arab American News, “This is a slap in the face to all the essential workers who have been serving the public throughout the pandemic — sacrificing their health and time with their families and loved onesIn 2019, we moved a total of 1,540,972 passengers on the Michigan Corridor. In Dearborn alone, we boarded and deboarded 73,589 passengers. When this pandemic first began, we were told not to wear masks or gloves as it would frighten passengers, while management was told to work from home. As a union, in good faith, we decided to give up pay to help the company only now to be furloughed.” 

SLD Donald Roach also pointed out to the news outlet that H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which included funding for Amtrak, passed the House on July 1 and has stalled on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk. 

“This cut from Amtrak is not just employees being furloughed, it’s reducing service from three trains a day in both directions, east and west, to one train a day to Chicago and the shutdown of the Grand RapidstoChicago line,” Roach said.  

Local 168 member Joel Myers was there rallying along with one of his two children. Myers stands to lose a lot if furloughed with one of his sons currently going through chemotherapy treatments. 

“If we are all furloughed, we will need to figure out how to keep food on the table for our families,” Hatton told the Arab American News. “We will be losing a great public utility. This will greatly impact Dearborn and the Metro Detroit area as this is a mode of transportation that people rely on.”  

Milwaukee

In Wisconsin, SMART members along with All Aboard Wisconsin boarded the Amtrak Empire Builder and rode to Wisconsin Dells, SLD Andy Hauck told SMART-TD. “We had press coverage at both locations and an event in Wisconsin Dells. The train crew was excellent. [The riders] included six legislators and prospective legislators that SMART-TD has supported.”  

The rallies caught the notice of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who embarked on a whistle-stop tour aboard an Amtrak train that departed from Cleveland the day after the first presidential debate and later went into Pennsylvania.  

“It’s safe to say I’ve gotten to know the hardworking men and women of @Amtrak over the years — I’m proud to stand with them as they face furloughs due to funding cuts. These essential workers have kept us moving during this pandemic –– now it’s time we have their backs,” Biden’s tweet the evening of Sept. 30 read.  

SMART-TD is urging members to contact Congress about passing emergency funding for Amtrak. Not only are the livelihoods of SMART and other union members at stake, but Railroad Retirement will also take a huge hit to its funding if these layoffs stick  

Click here to easily contact your representatives in Congress. 

 

Amtrak Workers’ Rallies Call on Congress to Preserve Jobs, Fund Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 28, 2020) — Unionized Amtrak workers, led by members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and Transportation Communications International Union (TCU), will rally Sept. 30 in four major U.S. cities to urge members of Congress to provide emergency funding on the day prior to planned cuts by the nation’s major passenger rail carrier to its service and workforce.

On Sept. 9, Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn appeared before a U.S. House committee saying that the carrier needs approximately $5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If no additional funding is provided by the federal government, the carrier has announced impending cuts, effective Oct. 1, of approximately 2,000 unionized employees and a planned reduction of service that would hit long-distance and state-run routes that serve rural areas especially hard.

Members of the SMART-TD, BLET and TCU as well as members of other labor unions whose jobs are jeopardized by these cuts will demonstrate in the nation’s capital, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

“We recognize that the coronavirus has profoundly affected the national rail network with a major reduction in ridership, which is especially unfortunate when considering that Amtrak had set passenger service records in recent years,” said union presidents Jeremy Ferguson (SMART-TD), Dennis Pierce (BLET) and Arthur Maratea (TCU). “However, placing the burden of the pandemic’s effects on all of these essential workers who faithfully kept the service running during this ongoing national emergency is absolutely wrong. Job cuts are not the cure.”

The schedule for the four Fight for Service events Sept. 30 is as follows:
Washington D.C.: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Eastern), in front of the U.S. Capitol Building’s east side.
New York City: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Eastern), in front of Penn Station at Eighth Avenue (Farley Post Office).
Chicago, Ill.: 10 a.m. – noon (Central), in front of Union Station on South Canal Street.
Los Angeles, Calif.: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Pacific) in front of Union Station.

SMART-TD, BLET and TCU members in the Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles areas are encouraged to participate in this showing of solidarity. The events will be socially distanced and participants will be wearing masks.

“Congress has the ability to make a difference by providing the emergency funding that Amtrak needs,” the presidents said. “Unionized workers and their supporters are uniting to call attention to that simple fact.”

According to Amtrak internal documents, 1,950 unionized workers are targeted by the cuts. Of those, 1,225 are members of the SMART-TD, BLET or the TCU.

A PDF with details about the rallies is available.

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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 different crafts, including as bus and commuter rail operators, in the transportation industry.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen represents nearly 58,000 professional locomotive engineers and trainmen throughout the United States. The BLET is the founding member of the Rail Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Transportation Communications International Union (TCU/IAM) represents approximately 46,000 members who work in every state in the U.S., mostly employed in the railroad industry. In 2012, TCU merged with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), who represent 600,000 active and retired members in North America.

Nomination rules, election procedures for fall local elections have been released

SMART Transportation Division members are reminded that elections are scheduled to be held this autumn to fill the three-year Local officer positions described by the SMART Constitution’s Article 21B, Section 56.

Positions include President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, Collector (where applicable) and the three-member Board of Trustees. In addition, any existing vacancies (except for those in the positions of Delegate or Alternate Delegate) should be addressed during these elections.

As per the Constitution’s Article 21B, Section 57, nomination meetings are held in October, with election tabulations conducted in November. Special instructions are provided below for Locals unable to hold a nomination meeting due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

Winning candidates assume their offices on January 1, 2021. If they are filling a vacancy, however, they take office immediately.

Candidates must garner a simple majority of valid votes cast to win election to any elective Transportation Division office. (A simple majority can be thought of as 50 percent of votes, plus at least one more vote.)

The process begins

For the Local’s Secretary or Secretary-Treasurer, the election process begins with an effort to update the membership roster, ensuring accurate addresses are on file for each member. Our Constitution’s Article 21B, Section 49, requires each member to keep the Local Secretary and Treasurer advised of his or her current home address. At the same time, U.S. Department of Labor regulations and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) require the Local to take steps to update addresses in advance of an election.

Members can update their address by contacting their Local Secretary, or can do so on the Transportation Division’s website.

Even if your Local conducts a floor election, where voting takes place at a physical location rather than by mail, it’s important that your address is up to date. Your Local Secretary (or Secretary-Treasurer, as the case may be) needs to mail a notice to all active members of the local to advise them, at least 15 days in advance of tabulation, that an election is to take place. The notice will indicate when and where voting will take place. (Postcards for this purpose are available for purchase from the Transportation Division’s Supply Department.)

If the Local is conducting its election by mail, the ballot itself must be mailed out at least 15 days in advance of the date of tabulation, as the ballot serves as the notice of the election.

Nominations

The Secretary must post a notice at least 10 days in advance of the October nomination meeting indicating when and where nominations for affected positions will take place. They need not mail this notice directly to members.

Nominations may be made by any member in good standing from the floor at the nomination meeting. Nominations do not require being seconded. Any member eligible to vote may self-nominate. If a member wishes to self-nominate or nominate someone else, but can’t attend the meeting, nominations can be entered through a petition. A nomination petition must state the name of the nominee, the position for which the member is being nominated, and must carry at least five signatures of members in good standing. No nominations can be accepted following the close of the nomination meeting.

When a nomination meeting cannot be held due to COVID-19-related restrictions, a notice of nominations must still be posted at all locations where the Local’s members report for duty a minimum of ten (10) days prior to the deadline for nominating petitions to be submitted. Instead of including information pertaining to the time and location of a nomination meeting, the notice should set a specific date and time whereby nominations will be closed, and must include the Local Secretary’s pertinent contact information along with instructions for submitting written nominations. In situations where nomination meetings cannot be held, it is permissible for the Secretary to accept nominations submitted in writing, via hand delivery, text, email, and/or USPS mail.

With respect to choosing a deadline for nominations, typically, this would be determined by the members present at a regular or special meeting of the Local. Where it is not feasible to hold such a meeting, the Local President, Secretary, and Treasurer should all agree on a nomination deadline that works best. As noted, the minimum mandatory notice for nominations is ten (10) days. However, given the circumstances, we recommend giving more notice. Most Locals choose a time period that is closer to thirty (30) days in advance.

If only one member is nominated for a position, that member can be declared elected by acclamation.

The scheduled elections held this autumn offer an opportunity to fill other vacancies which may exist. If the vacant position is a Local Committee of Adjustment (LCA) position, only members of that LCA are eligible to make nominations for the position and to vote in that election. In locals having more than one LCA for different crafts, the secretary will provide a separate ballot for all eligible voters of each craft working under the jurisdiction of the committee involved. Any member in good standing with seniority in one of the crafts represented by the LCA may be a candidate for an office in that LCA.

Eligibility

To be eligible to vote, all dues and assessments must be paid within the time frame specified by the constitution. Article 21B, Section 49, indicates dues are to be paid in advance, before the first day of the month in which they are due. Eligibility to make nominations or to be nominated is similar. This means, for example, if the nomination meeting is in October, the nominator and the nominee must have paid all dues obligations prior to October 1. To vote in November, the voter must have paid all dues obligations prior to November 1.

Those in so-called E-49 status are eligible to run for office, but they cannot make nominations and they cannot vote. If elected, acceptance of pay from the company or the union creates a dues obligation.

Elections

As previously noted, candidates must garner a simple majority of valid votes cast to win election.

When it comes to handling elections for the Board of Trustees, instructions on the ballot should be included above the candidates’ names telling the voter: “Vote for three candidates.” Each member of the three-member Board of Trustees must be elected by a majority of votes cast, a requirement which frequently results in the need for runoff elections. The rule of thumb in such runoffs is that for each open position, which must be filled, two candidates will compete.

For example, if nine candidates run for a position on the Board of Trustees, and 200 valid ballots have been cast and counted in the first round of the election, each successful candidate must receive at least 101 votes. If no candidate receives at least 101 votes, a runoff must be held.

The runoff would include two candidates for each open position. In the above example, this means the three candidates with the lowest vote totals are dropped from the ballot, and the names of six candidates appear on the runoff ballot. In the runoff, if only one candidate attains a majority of votes that means one of the three positions was filled, and there remain two Trustee positions to fill, with five remaining candidates. Of those five remaining candidates, the candidate with the lowest vote total would be dropped from the ballot, and another ballot would be issued with four candidate’s names (because there are two positions to be filled).”

More information

Members are encouraged to consult Article 21B of the SMART Constitution for information regarding elections. Unless an item within Article 21B directs you to a further stipulation outside of Article 21B, only the provisions found within Article 21B are applicable to Transportation Division elections. The Local election process is addressed directly by Article 21B, Section 57.

Election information and guidelines have been distributed to all Transportation Division Local Presidents and Local Secretaries, as well as to General Chairpersons, State and District Legislative Directors and Transportation Division International Officers.

Members can consult their Local officers to examine this information, or they can visit the Transportation Division’s Local Toolbox and click on “Elections.”

Special Circular No. 35 describes the constitutional provisions involved in the local elections this autumn, and the pamphlet entitled “How to Hold Elections for Local Officers” gives practical, hands-on election guidance and includes samples of nomination and election notices that can be posted. The leaflet entitled “Special Instructions Related to COVID-19” provides guidance when gathering restrictions are in place.

Local officer positions

The following is a brief description of the duties of the various Local officer positions.

The Local President presides at all meetings of the Local, enforces the provisions of the Constitution and bylaws of the Local and exercises general supervision over the Local’s affairs. The President ensures that Local officers respond to inquiries from the International, and with the Secretary and/or Treasurer, files all reports required by federal, state or local laws. The President may speak on any subject before the Local, but may not vote except, in case of a tie vote, casts the deciding ballot.

The Local Vice President succeeds the Local President and fulfills the remainder of the three-year term if the Local President resigns, retires, becomes incapacitated, dies, or for some reason cannot fulfill the requirements of the position. Also, if the Local President cannot attend a Local meeting, the Vice President presides at regular Local meetings.

In most Locals, the offices of Secretary and Treasurer have been combined. The Local Secretary keeps an accurate record of all Local proceedings, receives all communications, conducts correspondence and is in charge of the Local seal and Local records. The Secretary performs the duties of the Local Treasurer in Locals that do not provide for the separation of the offices of Secretary and Treasurer.

The Treasurer receives all monies due to be collected by the Local and provides receipts, except in cases where the Local maintains the office of collector. The treasurer holds and keeps secure all Local funds and is bonded. The Treasurer also keeps an accurate account of all receipts and expenditures of the Local on forms provided for that purpose. The Treasurer shall also remit all monies due the International to the General Secretary-Treasurer each month.

In a few instances, Locals of 50 or more members maintain the office of Collector. The Local Collector receives all money due the Local and provides receipts. Prior to the first day of each month, the Collector reports to the Local Treasurer all the money received during the current month and gives the amount collected to the Local Treasurer.

The Local Board of Trustees supervises the financial affairs of the Local. Upon approval by the Local, the Board has authority to rent, lease, or purchase property, office equipment or other necessary supplies. The Board meets in January of each year for the purpose of auditing the annual report of the Treasurer and verifying bank balances and cash on hand.

Questions?

There are many provisions not covered by this article, including those that address candidates’ rights and permitted means of campaigning. Those with election questions are urged to call the Transportation Division President’s Department at 216-228-9400. It’s always easier to address issues in advance than after the fact.

NOTICE: SMART-TD Locals may meet in June with adherence to health protocols

From the SMART Transportation Division President’s Department:

As some state and local governments have begun to relax COVID-19 related precautions, Transportation Division (TD) Locals are advised they may choose to hold regular monthly meetings in June if conditions safely allow, and if permitted in accordance with state/local
guidelines. Locals choosing to resume meetings in June are reminded to observe the Centers for Disease Control’s illness prevention guidelines, which can be found at cdc.gov.

Locals not holding their meetings in June may continue to pay authorized expenses via the process outlined by this office in the March 17, 2020, circular. This advised officers and members seeking membership approval of expense submissions to utilize a version of a procedure that was previously available only to Local Chairpersons. For exact details and procedures, please reference the March circular. A copy of the claim form to be used can be obtained via TD Connect or by contacting this office.

Reimbursement for expenses via the five-signature claim form is only to be sought after fulfilling a legitimate duty of office, pursuing a matter as adopted and directed by the membership, or in fulfilling an assignment at the direction of an officer with authority over
the matter in question. It is not for members or officers to unilaterally assign themselves duties or make purchases and then seek a disbursement from the Local or the LCA.

As a reminder, there is no mechanism available for “official” meetings to be held via video conference. Among other concerns, such meetings pose a challenge to the constitutional requirement to keep the union’s business private, and some members might not have the equipment or skills to “attend” such meetings.

Further guidance will be circulated as the situation develops.

SMART-TD 2020 Regional Meeting Called Off

CLEVELAND, Ohio (April 21, 2020) – Unfortunately, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the state of Ohio’s orders regarding distancing and banning meetings, we have had to cancel the 2020 SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting.

Accordingly, please disregard the registration information printed in the February/March SMART Transportation Division News. That particular edition of the News was published prior to the decision to cancel.

For anyone who has already registered, you will be receiving a refund of the registration fees. Those who had registered electronically will have a full refund automatically returned to the card that was used to make their registration. If you paid for the registration by a method other than credit card, you will also receive a refund in the near future.

As a reminder, please note that members are responsible for the cancellation of their personal travel and hotel reservations.

SMART-TD State Legislative Boards directed to cancel meetings, conduct mail elections

SMART Transportation Division (TD) State Legislative Boards that have not yet conducted their quadrennial reorganization meetings are directed to cancel their meetings and conduct elections by mail ballot.

Taking these steps will assist in meeting the recommendations of the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stem the transmission of the COVID-19 virus by avoiding unnecessary travel and exposure to gatherings of people.

According to SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 93, lines 18-22:

“Beginning in 1972 the Chairperson of each State and District Legislative Board shall convene the full Legislative Board not later than May 31st following the completion of the quadrennial elections for Local Legislative Representatives for reorganizational purposes which shall include the election of officers and adoption of bylaws and procedures.”

As a result of the growing adverse impact of the COVID-19 virus, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), on March 17, 2020, issued guidance that provides this organization with latitude regarding the deadline for accomplishing the quadrennial reorganization, but still requires making “a good faith effort to conduct officer elections within LMRDA [Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act] timeframes.”

Accordingly, the quadrennial elections of your board should be conducted as soon as possible, and completed before the constitutionally mandated May 31, 2020, deadline.

The DOL has advised that nominations can be taken by email, but elections must be conducted by secret ballot. The elections should be conducted pursuant to the procedures found in SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 57, which calls for the use of “A” envelopes and the employment of three Tellers to retrieve the ballots from a P.O. box and tabulate the results. A notice soliciting nominations must be distributed to all Legislative Representatives no less than 10 days prior to the deadline for receipt of nominations. Ballots must be mailed at least 15 days prior to the date of tabulation.

Questions should be directed to the office of the Transportation Division President.

NOTICE: SMART-TD locals may cancel meetings for March and April 2020

March 17, 2020

In line with White House recommendations that gatherings of more than 10 people be avoided to counter the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, SMART Transportation Division Locals are advised they may cancel monthly meetings in March and April 2020.

During this period only, officers and members seeking membership approval of expense submissions will be able to utilize a relaxed version of a procedure that was previously available only to Local Chairpersons.

In addition, a form is being made available for use by those seeking expense reimbursement. Any officer or member abusing the form and/or submitting fraudulent claims may be subject to removal from office, reprimand, penalties and fines in accordance with the SMART Constitution.

Questions regarding this procedure should be directed to the office of the Transportation Division President.

Disaster relief contributions needed after killer storm

The SMART Transportation Division is primed to assist members in their time of need when disaster strikes.

The deadly tornadoes this week in Tennessee affected a number of families and TD members may be among those whose lives have been devastated by the killer storms that claimed at least 24 lives.

The generosity of citizens around the country has risen up as people give what they can to help those affected by the disaster to reclaim their lives.

We are asking the SMART-TD family to heed the call and give what you can so that the difficult task of starting over and rebuilding can begin for any members who have been affected by the fury of the storm.

Any donations will help lessen the struggle and bring real hope and relief to SMART-TD members who are suffering after this great loss. SMART-TD will administer donations sent to the SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund.

Contributions may be sent and made payable to:

SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
Suite 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333

Questions:
Please call the Transportation Division office at 216-228-9400 referencing the SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund.

Union Plus also has disaster relief grants of $500 available to help participants in the Union Plus credit card, insurance or mortgage programs who are facing financial hardship due to severe weather. The money does not have to be repaid.

Union Plus mortgage holders may also be eligible to receive payment extensions or other special help.

To qualify for a Union Plus disaster relief grant, the union member must:

  • Have been a victim of the severe weather in counties designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance.
  • Have experienced a significant loss of income or property due to the disaster.
  • Have had a Union Plus credit card, Union Plus insurance policy or Union Plus mortgage for at least 12 months, with the account or policy up to date in payments.
  • Describe his or her circumstances and document the income or property loss.

To apply for a disaster relief grant, eligible union members should call:

Union Plus credit card: (877) 761-5028
Union Plus mortgage: (800) 472-2005
Union Plus insurance: (800) 472-2005
Go to https://www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/disaster-relief-grants