Our membership can stand proud, but the task is not over

August 5, 2014

Strong, Proud, United. That was the theme of our recent convention in San Diego and it was reflected in all respects by the delegates, members and officers in attendance.

The heritage and traditions of this great union were on display throughout the meeting, illustrating the connection between our rich history and our promising future. From a video tribute to Al Chesser – the first elected president of the United Transportation Union – to the educational seminars for new delegates, it was apparent that our union is actively preparing for the future by utilizing the strength and knowledge that comes from more than 145 years of proud history.

The convention was called to order the morning of Monday, June 30, and from that point forward the delegates actively and robustly participated in the democratic process that governs our union.

Speaking on behalf of their local membership, the delegates elected some officers and unelected others, filled vacancies, debated recommendations for constitutional changes and reviewed resolutions submitted to the body.

When the striking gavel closed the meeting on Wednesday, July 2, the membership had spoken. A new leadership team was in place, composed primarily of incumbents who had successfully sought to return to office and also some new officers who emerged victorious from their hard-fought campaigns.

Recommendations were finalized on all resolutions and constitutional amendments that were submitted to the body for consideration. Our membership can stand proud knowing that they were well represented by their delegates and that our democratic process is alive and well.

This year’s convention cycle is not complete. The first convention of the consolidated International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers is taking place in Las Vegas,- Aug. 11-15. There, delegates will review and act upon not only the recommendations made by our delegates in San Diego, but also on other proposed amendments that may be presented to the body.

In addition, the delegates will elect SMART general officers and Sheet Metal Division delegates will elect the remaining 11 general vice presidents to join the six from the Transportation Division that will sit on our union’s General Executive Council.

It is critically important that all delegates who are eligible to attend the convention in Las Vegas be there to ensure the voice of their membership is heard. Whether they come from Sheet Metal or Transportation Division locals, the delegates in Las Vegas will debate issues that affect our entire membership across all craft lines. All members deserve a voice in that discussion, and that voice comes from the delegate or delegates elected by the local to serve as their spokesperson.

Strong, proud and united. As we continue to achieve the benefits of our merged organization, it is imperative that all delegates become familiar with the issues and challenges faced by every craft in our union.

Attendance at the First SMART General Convention is an opportunity to engage with our brothers and sisters to help craft a unification that will set the tone of this organization for generations to come.

Each and every delegate has a role to play in that dialogue. As legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”