SMART is a labor union made up of 200,000-plus hard-working men and women in the U.S. and Canada. Our members are your friends and neighbors. They work as bus drivers, in manufacturing plants, railroads, shipyards and the HVAC/sheet metal Industry. SMART members benefit from set pay standards and workplace protections outlined in collective bargaining agreements. It is our collective bargaining power that allows us to negotiate fair and equitable contracts with employers. This basic right gives our members more power than trying to negotiate as individuals, allowing for higher wages, better benefits, safe working conditions and a voice at work.
Better Wages and Benefits
How unions impact wages – You deserve more. We believe you’ve earned and deserve better pay at work, and SMART members see and feel the difference in their paychecks every day. By coming together in a union, we gain collective strength and power to negotiate higher wages and better benefits at the bargaining table. Union members on average earn 27% more than our nonunion counterparts.
Workplace Safety & Keeping Workers Safe
Does your workplace feel unsafe? You don’t have to work in danger – you should go to work knowing that you will come home safe at the end of the day. Our collective power allows us to negotiate contracts that have strong and enforceable safety language; in many cases, going beyond what’s in laws and regulations. We strive to protect SMART members through training, enforcement and contract negotiations to ensure every member’s safety.
Work shouldn’t control our existence. Do you need more predictable hours, better access to education, advancement opportunities or better family leave when needed? When you’re a member of SMART, your contract protects you by clearly spelling out your work hours, training requirements, advancement procedures and how you can take time off.
You deserve a life outside of work. SMART members have access to discounts on theme park tickets to have some fun, mortgage and real estate services, auto insurance, lower-cost cellular service and so much more! SMART is there for you no matter what part of your life you’re in.
Employee Rights and Workplace Equality
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace – SMART contracts ensure all working people, no matter their race, gender or sexuality, get a fair opportunity in the workplace. Women in unionized workplaces make almost 10% more than their nonunion counterparts, and transparency in a union contract can prevent discrimination in raises and promotions. Additionally, non-discrimination clauses in contracts ensure that union workers have protections that go beyond what is contained in law.
The Right to Retire
What does your future look like? SMART makes it a top priority to ensure our members have the financial security they need to retire with dignity. Our contracts have retirement plans you can count on in the future, and we fight to keep these plans strong. Sometimes, when you’re just starting out, it can be hard to see the importance of planning for your retirement. That’s why we work hard to ensure members have access to strong retirement plans. After decades of hard work, you deserve the rest and relaxation that comes with a secure retirement.
A union is a nonprofit, democratic organization of workers who have formally come together to promote their interests and advocate on each other’s behalf. Unions push for better wages and working conditions, defend individual workers when their rights are violated on the job, champion state and federal laws and new legislation that protect workers’ rights, and hold irresponsible companies or government agencies accountable in court or by other means, when they don’t do their jobs properly.
The International Association of SMART is made up of many local union chapters around the U.S. and Canada. Every SMART member belongs to a local union that is primarily who they will interact with for most union-related matters. A local union can be as simple as the workers at one manufacturing facility, rail yard or bus company, or it can be tens of thousands of workers across several states at many employers, such as in the HVAC industry. Each local union has its own bylaws and elects its own local union leadership.
In a nonunion setting, the employer makes all the rules. They may promise to listen to employee input, but at the end of the day, they aren’t required to take any of that input seriously and ultimately still get to decide what the final policies are. In a union setting, the rules are negotiated by the union and the employer, with the union representing the best interests of the workers and the employer representing the best interests of the company.
One of the most important benefits of coming together with your co-workers to form a union is gaining the clarity and security of a union contract. Having one means knowing exactly what is expected of you at work, and what you can expect from your employer in return. A union contract is a written agreement between the employer and the employees that details the terms and benefits in a clear and legally binding way.
Because they work! Labor unions band workers together through collective bargaining to exercise a voice in their own lives and futures, in a way that individual wage earners cannot. Union members elect their own officers, determine their own goals, set their own dues and choose the rules by which their unions operate for the common good. It is this collective strength and power that allows labor unions to negotiate for more favorable working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining. On average, union workers’ wages are 27% higher than their nonunion counterparts, in addition to the many other benefits a union contract brings.
“Organizing” can be a confusing term for people because it means different things in different contexts. Here at SMART, we use it as shorthand to talk about nonunion workers joining SMART to improve their jobs. It starts with workers talking to each other about improving their wages, benefits and working conditions. Once a majority of workers agree that they are interested in forming a union and want to make things better at their workplace, they should reach out to SMART. An experienced organizer whose job is to help guide you through this process will be assigned to you and your co-workers.