Archive for the ‘Organizing/Meetings’ Category

TD legislative representatives take oaths, assume roles

Beginning January 1st, 2020, more than 500 duly elected Legislative Representatives will take their oath of office to serve our great Organization. They have chosen to faithfully serve their membership as SMART-TD officers in the areas of workplace safety, legislation, public representation and retirement issues.

Kenny Edwards

K.O. Edwards is chair of the Association of State Legislative Directors and Indiana State Legislative Director.

Many will be first time LRs with little or no knowledge of what the position entails. That’s perfectly OK. Every experienced and effective LR began with little or no idea as to how he or she should execute the duties of the job. Know this: The LR is a very important position. All active and retired members depend upon his/her LR to serve them.

Nearly every issue an LR discovers or engages has its origins at the local level. As an LR identifies and progresses through finding remedies to local problems, they will find that these issues are not exclusive to just one location. Most issues that an LR must tackle exist across our industry and nationwide. This is why working as a team and becoming a teammate locally and within the SMART-TD hierarchy is vital as we render service to the membership.

How does an LR begin performing the job?

First and foremost: Have a positive mindset. Do not be scared or intimidated. I promise: YOU GOT THIS. There are many successful styles and approaches. Find one that fits you and your skill set. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make it a point to improve upon both.

It is imperative that an LR contact his or her State Legislative Director as soon as possible after taking office. It is the LR’s responsibility to have a functioning relationship with the State Legislative Director. Conversely, it is the responsibility of every State Legislative Director to have a functioning relationship with every LR in their state. If an LR fails to establish a working relationship with their State Legislative Director, there are two persons at fault.

Newly elected LRs are encouraged to be proactive and find a mentor to help. Experienced LRs coming back to serve another term absolutely need to become a mentor and make it a point to help others. Learning is a two-way street that educates both the student and the teacher.

Patience is a vital part of the job. Learning the basics of the role will not come overnight. It’s no different than learning how to safely and effectively perform our duties out on our work properties — we can’t possibly acquire everything we are going to need to know all at once. It takes time to perfect the basics and build our skill sets out from there. Practice doesn’t make perfect — practice makes permanent. This is why it is so important to learn how to perform the job of LR the right way from the beginning.

Local officers are the backbone of this Organization. There is an expectation for LRs to take their oath, take it with pride and take the responsibilities that come with the position seriously.

Every word is the foundation of the position. Never forget that the LR is an integral part of the SMART-TD. We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and I speak for every SMART-TD officer at every level when I say we want every LR to grow and succeed.

Please enjoy every minute of service the next four years!

K.O. Edwards
Chairman — Association of State Legislative Directors and Indiana State Legislative Director

Rally Sunday in Iowa in support of Safe Freight Act

Legislative Representative Jordan Boone of Local 445 (Niota, Ill.) reports that National Legislative Director Greg Hynes will be speaking Sunday at a rally in support of the Safe Freight Act (H.R. 1748/S.1979) national two-person crew legislation.

The rally is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. local time at the Keokuk Labor Temple at 301 Blondeau St. in Keokuk, IA 52636. Members from the region are invited to attend to show their support for the legislation.

Representatives of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen also are expected to be in attendance to speak as are politicians including Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Iowa. Rep. Jeff Kurtz and Iowa House candidate Emiliano Vera.

Sanders is expected to publicly endorse S.1979 during an event at the Keokuk school complex, 2001 Orleans Ave., Keokuk, 52636, to take place at 12:30 p.m. local time.

H.R. 1748 currently has 133 co-sponsors while the Senate version of the bill has 15.

New leadership chosen for Association of General Chairpersons — District 3

General chairpersons comprising the Association of General Chairpersons — District 3, convened Nov. 12 at the TD office in North Olmsted, Ohio.

The Association of General Chairpersons — District 3, consisting of the general chairpersons in the SMART Transportation Division Bus Department, chose new leadership Nov. 12 and discussed initiatives put forth over the summer at the SMART General Convention by the SMART Transit/Bus Committee.

Elected to lead District 3 at the conclusion of the meeting were Chairperson Tonette Nixon-Pray (Local 172, Darby, Pa.); Vice Chairperson Erskins Robinson (Local 1785, Santa Monica, Calif.); and Secretary Tom Pate (Local 1081, Glendale, Ariz.).

New officers of the Association of General Chairpersons — District 3 elected on Nov. 12 are, from left, Secretary Tom Pate, Chairperson Tonette Nixon-Pray and Vice Chairperson Erskins Robinson.

TD President Jeremy Ferguson took questions from the 16 GCs in attendance and laid out some of the initiatives that the union will be focusing on in the coming months under his administration. Among those discussed by President Ferguson were intensified efforts at organizing, the establishment of a Bus Safety Team and improving accessibility to educational offerings.

“We need more boots on the ground,” he said, and changes to the Organizing Department to enhance its power will be made after the first of the year. “We’ll have more organizers out there that can work not only on getting new properties but helping existing properties where they need help.”

Chief of Staff Jerry Gibson said that the TD office will collect as much information as it can of incidences that put members working in bus and transit service to document at risk in the run-up to the establishment of a Bus Safety Team, and that nominations of safety-oriented TD members will be sought to serve on that team.

“If you’re going to talk the talk, then walk the walk. I expect you to be active, and those are the type of people we’re looking for to be involved,” Gibson said.

President Ferguson also pledged increased responsiveness and support to the general chairpersons’ concerns as the organization defends its membership and the SMART Constitution.

“We want to give you every tools — all the support you can get. You have my support, all my vice presidents and the staff,” Ferguson said. “You also have the state and national legislative department. You also have the Legal Department … Reach out. We’re here.”

Some of the support will come in increased educational efforts, he said. In addition to the annual regional meeting that the union puts together, more “mini-regionals” involving multiple locals will provide guidance on how to run local meetings, represent members and maintain local financial records will be held around the country.

“We’re going to start branching out and doing more of that,” Ferguson said.

Legislative directors from the states with bus general committees also attended the meeting in a show of solidarity.

Additional details about steps to be taken by the Bus Department going forward will be discussed by Vice President — Bus Calvin Studivant in a future edition of the Transportation Division News.

Registration open for first local officer business workshops of 2020

Registration has opened for local secretaries, treasurers, and for presidents and trustees who are interested in attending workshops that will go over key aspects of the business of local union finances. Follow the links below to register.

Secretary and treasurer workshops

The Local S&T serves as the backbone to the business operations of the Local. Your position comes with a high level of fiduciary responsibility where you have the legal responsibility for managing your members’ money. What this really means is that you have been placed in a position of trust and there may be consequences, legal or otherwise, for betrayal of that trust. This workshop presented by the Field Audit & Support Department will prepare you with a baseline of all the responsibilities S&Ts must handle. Rules, regulations and procedures are always changing and evolving, so we encourage even the seasoned S&Ts to periodically attend this workshop.

Workshops will run 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. local time all three days. Topics include:

  • Managing member records in TD Connect
  • Understanding payroll deductions
  • Working the monthly eBill
  • Using WinStabs-NMR to manage your Local’s money
  • Making proper disbursements
  • Budgeting for your Local and LCA funds
  • Paying taxes and filing reports with the authorities
  • Each officer’s role in the newly revised Treasurer’s Annual Report (TAR) and audit process
  • Proper record keeping

S&T WORKSHOP DATES

  • January 27 through 29, 2020 – Kansas City, Mo., Room 109 of the Drury Inn and Suites, 7900 Northwest Tiffany Springs Kansas City, MO 64153;
    The block room rate is $92/night-double $102/night-single. Room reservation deadline is Dec. 27, 2019. Call 1-800-325-0720 or visit www.druryhotels.com to make a reservation. Use group # 2396909.
    This workshop is full and registration is CLOSED. A waitlist is available by contacting the Field Audit Support team at 216-228-9400.
  • March 2020 – Philadelphia, Pa.; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED
  • June 2020 – Salt Lake City, Utah; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED.
  • Nov./Dec. 2020 – New Orleans, La.; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED.

Local president and trustee business basics workshops


The Field Audit & Support Department is launching a new series of workshops geared towards Local Presidents and Trustees. The purpose of these one-day workshops will be to equip officers with “local business basics” so that they understand their role in the business operations along with what is necessary to support and keep the Local Treasurer on task. It is most likely cost-prohibitive for Locals to send all three trustees to this workshop, so it is recommended that they identify a single trustee to send.

Learn about:

  • The role each officer has in the business operations of the Local
  • Business-related tasks Locals must perform and be held accountable for
  • Understanding the monthly treasurer report
  • Each officer’s role in the newly revised Treasurer’s Annual Report (TAR) and audit process
  • Maintaining revenue and making proper disbursements
  • Getting business done at the Local meeting and properly recording it in meeting minutes
  • Common Local pitfalls and how to avoid them

LOCAL PRESIDENT AND TRUSTEE WORKSHOP DATES

  • January 30, 2020 – Kansas City, Mo., Room 109 of the Drury Inn and Suites, 7900 Northwest Tiffany Springs Kansas City, MO 64153;
    The block room rate is $92/night-double $102/night-single. Room reservation deadline is Dec. 27, 2019. Call 1-800-325-0720 or visit www.druryhotels.com to make a hotel reservation. Use group # 2396909.
    Register to attend this workshop by following this link. Workshop registration deadline is Jan. 20 and there are 25 slots open.
  • March 2020 – Philadelphia, Pa.; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED
  • June 2020 – Salt Lake City, Utah; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED.
  • Nov./Dec. 2020 – New Orleans, La.; DETAILS TO BE FINALIZED.

For more information, call Katy Andrijowych at 216-227-5432 or email kandrijowych@smart-union.org.

Additional proponent hearing added as Ohio rail safety bill is considered

Rail safety legal expert Larry Mann is scheduled to provide additional proponent testimony regarding H.B. 186 before the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The hearing is scheduled 11 a.m. Nov. 19 in the Ohio Statehouse Room 114 in Columbus.

Following testimony provided by the bill’s opponents on Oct. 22 in which they argued that it was futile for the state to consider passage of H.B. 186 because of pending legal challenges to legislation in Illinois and Nevada, the Ohio State Legislative Board coordinated a campaign to convince bill co-sponsors Reps. Brett Hillyer and Mike Sheehy, as well as committee Chairman Doug Green and House Speaker Larry Householder, to grant an additional hearing.

“We believed that an additional hearing for expert proponent testimony was needed in order to set the record straight,” Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner said. “This additional testimony is solely at the discretion of the Transportation Committee Chairman Doug Green to allow (the bill) to go forward or not.”

Mann has served as the SMART TD Designated Legal Counsel’s rail safety coordinator since the position was created in 2008 and has extensive legal experience in the transportation industry, including being the principal draftsman of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970.

“Larry is the foremost rail safety expert in the United States,” Gardner said. “He has dealt with the issue of preemption raised by the railroads for many years. He will counter the statements raised by the railroads in their recent opponent testimony concerning legislation covering two-person crews, blocked crossing, walkways and yard illumination.”

Gardner requests that SMART TD members and railroad workers fill the committee’s room in Columbus for a third time at 11 a.m. Nov. 19.

“Once again, (let’s) show our solidarity on HB 186, and our concerns over our safety, and the safety of the communities that our trains pass through and where the yards that we work in are located. Demonstrate our resolve to those Transportation & Safety Committee members that will ultimately decide to pass this legislation out of committee, and forward to the House,” he said.

Parade honoring veterans Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

SMART TD Nebraska State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson invites all SMART members in his state to come out to Lincoln to participate in a Veterans Day parade at 2 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 9.

“I hope for a good turnout,” he said.

A large portion of both the TD and Sheet Metal membership are veterans, and our union’s participation in these events help show an appreciation for U.S. armed forces veterans’ service to our country and the freedoms we in the United States enjoy.

TD Local 305 in Lincoln is the host Local for the event and has contributed toward defraying transportation costs for the event. Borgeson said other contributions to help offset those costs would be greatly appreciated and can be mailed to the Nebraska State Legislative Board’s office, 3333 S. 24th St, Omaha, NE 68108.

Checks should be made payable to the Nebraska State Legislative Board: NSLB LO030.

For additional information, contact Borgeson at (402) 679-0872 or SMARTDIRECTOR@cox.net.

Members out in force in Kansas City

From left, Local 1409 Legislative Representative Dan Bonawitz Jr., TD Vice President Brent Leonard, Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn, TD President Jeremy Ferguson and Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo participate in an informational picket on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Kansas City.

General President Joseph Sellers Jr. and TD President Jeremy Ferguson both participated in a town hall meeting and informational rally in Kansas City on Nov. 4 and 5 to draw attention to Union Pacific’s closure of the Neff Yard that resulted in about 200 lost jobs.

The event received local media coverage and was a success, said Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo.

“it was a great event,” Dragoo said. “We had over 170 members there. We’re definitely moving forward.”

More coverage of the event will be forthcoming.

TTD, SMART TD file complaint over National Mediation Board rules change

The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), in conjunction with SMART Transportation Division and 13 other unions associated with the railroad and aviation industries, filed suit in federal court in the District of Columbia against the National Mediation Board (NMB) regarding their recent rule that changes the decertification process.

SMART TD, TTD, and the other plaintiffs assert that the final rule, which was approved by the NMB over the summer in a 2-1 vote, violates the Railway Labor Act by adopting a new decertification procedure, including an “unjustified” two-year moratorium on employees seeking union representation after a decertification vote. The change is “an arbitrary and capricious departure from long-standing Board practice,” the complaint states.

The complaint also says that the NMB overstepped limitations set by Congress that have for eight decades governed the board’s jurisdiction to resolve representation disputes in the aviation and rail industries.

“This action is in excess of the Board’s limited jurisdiction and is a ‘gross violation’ of the Railway Labor Act and should be enjoined,” the complaint states.

“The NMB’s rule is an attempt by government officials to hand even more power to corporations at the expense of working people,” TTD President Larry Willis said after the NMB vote July 26. “Not only is this rule unnecessary, but it is ill-timed and tone deaf to the needs of aviation and rail workers, who face unprecedented pressure from industry giants.

“A union contract is the most effective tool workers have to make life better for themselves and their families. Yet, the two Republican board members supporting this decision just made it easier to decertify unions in the rail and aviation sectors and bar employees from being able to vote for union representation for two years after decertification.”

The NMB is comprised of Chair Linda A. Puchala, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, and members Gerald W. Fauth III and Kyle Fortson, who were both appointees of President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate in November 2017. Puchala was the dissenting vote.

Autumn brings nominations and elections for locals

SMART Transportation Division members are reminded that legislative representative and alternate legislative representative elections are scheduled to be held this autumn, with nominations to be taken in October and elections conducted in November.

Locals must solicit for the nomination of candidates in October seeking the four-year legislative offices. Those eligible to hold office as a legislative representative or alternate legislative representative must be qualified voters, meaning they are registered to vote in public elections. The duties of a legislative representative are listed in SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 66.

Members are also reminded that any existing local vacancies should be addressed during these elections.

Local secretaries and secretary and treasurers should take steps now to ensure their records reflect accurate membership listings and mailing addresses.

As per the constitution’s Article 21B, Section 57, nomination meetings must be held in October, with election tabulations conducted in November. Winning candidates generally will assume their offices on Jan. 1, 2020. Those filling a vacancy, however, take office immediately.

SMART Constitution Article 21B, Section 58, contemplates an installation ceremony for officers named in Article 21B, Section 56. Elected officers who must present themselves at a regular or special meeting for installation within 60 days following their election include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer (or secretary-treasurer), and trustees. Section 58 does not apply to LCA officers, delegates, alternate delegates, legislative representatives or alternate legislative representatives.

In most cases, candidates must garner a simple majority of valid votes cast to win election to a Transportation Division office. (A simple majority can be thought of as 50 percent of votes, plus at least one more vote.) In the case of the Board of Trustees (or any other ballot position where voters are instructed to pick more than one of the candidates listed), winning candidates must obtain a majority of the ballots cast.

The process begins

For the local’s secretary or secretary and treasurer, the election process begins with an effort to update the membership roster, ensuring accurate addresses are on file for each member. Our constitution 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, secretary and treasurer, or treasurer, or can do so themselves through the TD website.

Nominations

The local 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. The notice should include which positions are open for nominations, and should indicate how nominations can be made, especially by those who cannot attend the nomination meeting. Notices should be placed in as many locations as needed to ensure it can reasonably be concluded that all members had an opportunity to see the notices.

All locals have been mailed instructional packets that include samples of the nomination notices which must be conspicuously posted where it can be reasonably calculated to inform all affected members. While nomination notices are not required by law to be mailed directly to all affected members, in light of recent court rulings, it is highly recommended that the postcards available for this purpose be obtained from the TD Supply Department and mailed to all 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 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 dues-paying members in good standing. No nominations can be accepted following the close of the nomination meeting. A nominee need not be in attendance at the nomination meeting for the nomination to be valid.

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

Members in 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.

In all cases, a notice of the election must be mailed to all members, including those in E-49 status (but not including retirees). If your local is conducting its election by mail, the mailed ballots can serve as the required notice of election, but such ballots must be mailed at least 15 days in advance of the date of tabulation and must be mailed to those in E-49 status. (The tellers will determine on the day of tabulation whether a member is in E-49 status and his or her vote should be counted.) The Department of Labor does not count the day of mailing as part of that 15-day window, but it does count the day of tabulation.

Those conducting floor votes can obtain postcards notifying members of the time, date and place of the election from our Supply Department. These notices must be mailed at least 15 days in advance of the date of tabulation.

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 is similar. This means, for example, for a nomination meeting in October, the nominator 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.

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.

Members can consult their local officers to examine the election guidance material distributed by this officer, or they can visit the S&T Tools page on the TD website and scroll down to the election guidance materials.

Questions?

There are many provisions not covered by this article, including those which address candidates’ rights and permitted means of campaigning. Those with election questions are urged to call the TD office at 216-228-9400.

Texas-area members invited to Houston solidarity rally

Local 1892 invites union members to the fourth-annual Houston Solidarity Rally that is scheduled noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the SPJST Lounge, 1435 Beall St. in Houston.

The event is open to all and has previously drawn members from 16 locals/divisions/lodges from multiple unions around Texas and the Gulf Coast.

It features BBQ, guest speakers, prize drawings, vendors and informational booths.

“Someone best described it as a ‘mini-regional’ for our area,” said Local 1892 S&T Robert Maldonado.

For more information, visit https://www.railrally.com/

Members invited to big Labor Day marches

All SMART members are invited to participate in annual Labor Day parades.

On Monday, Sept. 2, in Galesburg, Ill., Transportation Division Alternate National Legislative Director-elect Jared Cassity is scheduled to be in attendance to march alongside members of TD Local 195 and all other members who attend the 127th edition of the parade, a tradition that recognizes the sacrifice and contribution that workers have made in building our nation.

“Galesburg holds the title for the second-oldest consecutive Labor Day parade in America,” said Local Chairperson Bryan Roberts (LCA 001E) of TD Local 195. “We will have a photo with everyone before the parade begins and a float available to ride in the parade.”

Roberts said participants should meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the TD Local 195 union hall in the basement of the Bondi Building, 311 E. Main St., lower level. There is an access door off Kellogg Street as well that leads downstairs to the union hall in addition to the building’s main entrance.

Roberts said there will be a picnic with food and drink provided immediately following the parade at Lake Story, Pavilion 3, 1572 Machens Drive in Galesburg. The pavilion is immediately to the left when turning off Lake Story Road toward the Main Pavilion across from the softball fields, Roberts said. Alcohol is prohibited on site.

All members in Galesburg and the surrounding area are invited to participate.

“We hope to see everyone there,” Roberts said.

In Nebraska, food and fun are on the schedule at the membership feed 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, the night before the big parade in Omaha.

Parade T-shirts will also be distributed at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 3333 S. 24th St., in Omaha.

Line-up for the parade takes place at 9 a.m. the following day at the northeast corner of 17th and Mike Fahey streets. Attend the feed or contact State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson for more details on participating at smartdirector@cox.net.

And members, if you attend this or any other Labor Day event, please send in your photos to news_td@smart-union.org for consideration in the next edition of the TD News!

SMART TD Regional Meeting: President Previsich says FRA action will not go unchallenged

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In closing remarks to the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting July 3, TD President John Previsich said that recent actions of government agencies under the umbrella of the federal Department of Transportation will not go unchallenged.

Actions by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding safety issues have shown that those agencies have stepped away from their duties of overseeing the safety of communities and of the nation’s transportation workers, he said.

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich addresses the closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel on July 3.

The FRA’s withdrawal of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in May plus a similar action within days by the FMCSA that withdrew a notice regarding bus operator safety is a starting point to what will be a challenging period for our union, Previsich said.

All options, including litigation, are being explored to challenge what Previsich had described in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee as FRA’s abdication of its safety oversight responsibilities by withdrawing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding minimum crew size. Attorneys general from every state that have implemented legislation requiring two-person freight crews are being invited to join with labor to protect the state laws.

The effort will address FRA’s abuse of authority by withdrawing the NPR, ignoring the comments that were overwhelmingly in favor of a two-person crew rule and the agency’s attempt to pre-empt state laws. It will be a “concerted” effort with other labor organizations.

Previsich said that the union is planning on a multi-faceted approach to take on FRA while also challenging Congress to pursue legislation to correct FRA’s refusal to oversee safety on the nation’s railroads.

Attendees at the July 3 closing session of the San Diego Regional Meeting listen to TD President John Previsich’s remarks at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

State legislative action surrounding two-person rail crews also will be ongoing, he said, and more details of our efforts as well as additional actions for members to take will be communicated in the near future.

“There is going to be a big push coming,” Previsich said. “We are going to reach out to you when the proper time comes and ask for your assistance. I think your members will be proud of their union and where we’re going with this.”

To do something immediately, members should take the time to watch the video of the House subcommittee hearing. There they will see who supports our efforts, and what opponents are saying.

All brothers and sisters should then contact their legislators directly to explain our issues to their U.S. House and Senate representatives, and why the current bills regarding transportation safety are important. An in-person visit, an option advocated by National Legislative Director John Risch during the Regional Meeting’s opening session, helps to personalize and drive these issues home no matter what political party the public official identifies with.

The TD Legislative Action Center is a one-stop repository that has information on federal bills advocating bus and transit operator safety, freight rail crew size and yardmaster safety.

Our brothers and sisters also should donate to the SMART TD PAC.

“There’s nothing more important in this environment today — in this political climate that we’re in — that we get access, and we get access through PAC,” Previsich said.

On the second day of the meeting, SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. addressed the new leaders in attendance and encouraged them to take advantage of all resources available to them in both the Washington, D.C., and in the Cleveland offices.

The TD Regional Meeting theme — “Your Union Leading the Way” — was particularly appropriate this year — members “need to understand that ‘Your union’ is our union … 200,000 members are part of our union,” Sellers said. “And ‘leading the way’ means you leading the way, meaning us leading the way meaning leaders and members leading the way.”

In a time of upheaval in the industries that SMART members are employed in, efforts to grow the organization will continue to be a priority, and officers will take an important role in those efforts.

“We must continue to grow. We must organize, organize, organize — internal organizing, external organizing, making sure every worker is a SMART member,” Sellers said.

SMART General President Joseph Sellers, Jr., delivers opening remarks on Tuesday, July 2, the second day of the SMART Transportation Division Regional Meeting in San Diego, Calif.

From all levels of the union, it is up to everyone to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and build and maintain a strong foundation and maintain a powerful and nimble network that can take collective action to protect ourselves and the legacy our union represents, Sellers said.

“I want to make sure that we continue to build that foundation, that we continue to form this union so that future generations will have the same opportunity, enjoy that same representation, enjoy the same benefits of a collective bargaining agreement and enjoy a retirement particularly at a time when many people won’t have a retirement or work pension.”

Support from the SMART Army has brought results — members’ efforts beat back Right to Work For Less legislation in Washington one day after a call for mobilization at the state’s Capitol, and helped to get two-person crew legislation passed in Colorado and Nevada this year. They’ve also mobilized to defend proposed pension changes in Congress.

“As we build that, we will do better,” he said.

To join, text SMART Army to 21333.

In closing the meeting, Previsich announced that the 2020 TD Regional Meeting will be held in its home base of Cleveland, Ohio, at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown from Aug. 24 to 26.

The three-day San Diego meeting at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel featured more than 30 educational workshops intended to assist officers and strengthen our union at every level.