Fourth-year SMART Local 18 apprentice Angela Poore received the September North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswomen Heroes award – a recognition of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin sheet metal worker’s perseverance, skill and dedication to her craft.

“She is hard-working, shows up on time and soaks things up like a sponge,” the Local 18 Milwaukee Joint Apprenticeship Committee said when nominating Angela for the award. “Angela…exemplifies a great employee.”

Angela’s journey to the unionized sheet metal industry was an unorthodox one. Born and raised on military bases, Angela and her family spent 11 years driving from state to state, including Kansas, Alaska and Texas – finding adventure on cross-country odysseys. After settling in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Angela eventually moved out of her family home at 17 years old, working at two chiropractic offices for 15 years and starting her own cleaning business.

Like many workers in 21st century America, though, an economy devoted less to working families and more to Wall Street made economic stability hard to find, and while researching other career options, Angela was introduced to sheet metal by her stepfather, a Local 18 business agent. She spent some time honing her math skills, then signed up as a pre-apprentice at 34 years old.

“We would be lucky to have more apprentices, and future journeyworkers, like Angela.”

“It’s very intimidating being a female going into a ‘Man’s World,’ but I realized that the guys I was working with were like anyone else at a job,” Angela said. “They taught me so much, they showed me the wrong and right ways of doing things.”

Having spent all four years of her apprenticeship at JM Brennan Co., Angela has been able to experience the camaraderie of working in a union shop – and she’s taken advantage of every mentorship and learning opportunity that has come her way.

“The best part, so far, is working with so many different foremen/journeyen and learning their ways of doing things,” she noted. “It helps you find what way works best for you. I cannot wait to become a journeyperson or a foreman and see where this road takes me.”

The Local 18 Joint Apprenticeship Committee clearly feels the same way.

“Angela is always willing to take on new challenges,” the committee wrote in Angela’s nomination. “When Angela’s employer challenged the employees to differentiate themselves from others, she was the only one who approached her superintendent seeking guidance on improving her welding skills. Angela had always shown signs of success as a welder, but with this challenge took the opportunity to really focus and hone those skills.’

“We would be lucky to have more apprentices, and future journeyworkers, like Angela,” the committee concluded. Congratulations, sister!

SMART members from Wisconsin and across North America teamed up to support the Associa­tion for the Rights of Citizens with Handicaps (ARCh)

On the morning of Thursday, June 9, SMART members from Wisconsin and across North America joined the Associa­tion for the Rights of Citizens with Handicaps (ARCh) to prepare the Menomonee Park lodge in Menomonee Falls, Wis., for ARCh Camp Pow Wow, ensuring area adults and children with disabilities could attend the annual summer camp. Additionally, SMART pitched in with a fundraising effort that brought in $33,000 for ARCh and Camp Pow Wow, including a $5,000 donation from Milwaukee Tool Co.

“This is what we’re all about: building better communities,” said SMART Local 565 Business Manager & Financial Secretary-Treasurer Jesse Buell. “Building better wages and benefits, and raising local standards. We are proud to take part in this effort to support our community.”

“SMART takes great pride in being able to assist ARCh Camp Pow Wow with their reopening,” added SMART Local 18 Business Manager/ President Mike Mooney. “Camp Pow Wow has been a staple with serving the needs of the community for many years, and SMART is honored to be able to assist them.”

ARCh Camp Pow Wow has been providing outdoor recreational activities for adults and children with disabilities since 1959. With day camp options for the area’s most vulnerable citizens, Camp Pow Wow offers swimming, fishing, gardening, fitness, arts and crafts, music and more. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Pow Wow hadn’t taken place in person since 2019, and the site had fallen into disrepair. As a small nonprofit, ARCh did not have the resources to ready the site for return to camp — and SMART answered the call.

“We are thrilled and honored to benefit from the enthusiasm and expertise of the SMART Army,” said Kristen Lindahl, assistant director of operations at ARCh, ahead of the event. “This project shows how much good can be accomplished through a dynamic partnership of organized labor, county government and the nonprofit community. It takes this great ‘village’ to raise a camp!”

“This is what we’re all about: building better communities,” said SMART Local 565 Business Manager & Financial Secretary-Treasurer Jesse Buell. “Building better wages and benefits, and raising local standards. We are proud to take part in this effort to support our community.”

Members of SMART Local 18 (Wisconsin) and Local 565 (Madison, Wis.) — along with SMART delegates attending the SMART Production and Sign Council in Milwaukee the same week — arrived at Menomonee Park lodge early on Thursday morning, with more than 120 SMART volunteers providing over 400 combined hours of labor to make sure the lodge could safely accommodate guests of all abilities.

Members removed all the contents of the lodge, cleaned and sanitized the entire building – rooms, kitchen, common areas and more – and cleaned and sanitized every piece of equipment in the lodge before reinstalling all furnishings. Other SMART workers took care of basic landscaping, repair and mainte­nance needs for the lodge picnic area, music pavilion, tent boxes and swing sets: fixing picnic tables and accessible wooden walkways, setting up heavy-duty tents for campers to use, spreading woodchips, sanitizing toys and recreational materials, and more. At the end of the effort, SMART members presented a $33,000 check to ARCh Camp Pow Wow: a demonstration of labor’s lasting commitment to supporting local communities.

“Although they have been chal­lenging for everyone, the past two years have caused massive loneli­ness and frustration among children and adults with disabilities,” said Lindahl. “Thanks to the skill and dedication of the SMART Army, our campers can now safely and joyously return to the summer fun that they have missed so much!”

First-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-year apprentices participated in the fifth Northwest Regional Apprentice Contest on April 26-28 in Pasco, Washington. This year, the contest welcomed a combined 32 apprentices from Sheet Metal Workers Local 16 (Portland and Eugene, Oregon); Local 23 (Anchorage, Alaska); Local 55 (Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington); Local 66 (DuPont and Everett, Washington); and Local 103 (Pocatello, Idaho).

Apprentices competed in four categories: architectural sheet metal, HVAC sheet metal, industrial sheet metal/welding and HVAC service.

In the architectural sheet metal category, Joe Kim, Local 23, took first place; Josh Clute, Local 55 (Spokane) took second place; and Diana Loveall, Local 16, took third.

In the HVAC sheet metal category, Nolan Milojevich, Local 16, took first place, with Cody Parrish, Local 55 (Boise), in second place and Kim MacArthur, Local 23, in third place.

Among the industrial sheet metal/welding apprentices, Christian Irving, Local 55 (Boise), took the top spot, with Tanner McFarren, Local 23, in second place and Jared Robeson, Local 16, in third place.

In the HVAC service category, top finishers included Alfred Fleener, Local 23, in first place; Jalen Brooks, Local 16, in second place; and Austin Dragt, Local 66 (DuPont), in third place.

On the morning of Thursday, June 9, over 120 SMART members joined the Association for the Rights of Citizens with Handicaps (ARCh) to prepare the Menomonee Park lodge for ARCh Camp Pow Wow, ensuring area adults and children with disabilities can attend the annual summer camp. Additionally, SMART pitched in with a fundraising effort that brought in $33,000 for ARCh and Camp Pow Wow, including a $5,000 donation from Milwaukee Tool Co.

“This is what we’re all about: building better communities,” said SMART Local 565 Business Manager & Financial Secretary Treasurer Jesse Buell. “Building better wages and benefits, and raising local standards. We are proud to take part in this effort to support our community.”

“SMART takes great pride in being able to assist ARCh Camp Pow Wow with their reopening,” added SMART Local 18 Business Manager/President Mike Mooney. “Camp Pow Wow has been a staple with serving the needs of the community for many years, and SMART is honored to be able to assist them.”

ARCh Camp Pow Wow has been providing outdoor recreational activities for adults and children with disabilities since 1959 with options for swimming, fishing, gardening, fitness, arts and crafts, music and more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Pow Wow hasn’t taken place in person since 2019, and the site had fallen into disrepair. As a small non-profit, ARCh did not have the resources to ready the site for return to camp, so the SMART Army answered the call.

“We are thrilled and honored to benefit from the enthusiasm and expertise of the SMART Army,” said Kristen Lindahl, Assistant Director of Operations at ARCh. “This project shows how much good can be accomplished through a dynamic partnership of organized labor, county government and the non-profit community. It takes this great ‘village’ to raise a camp!”

Members of SMART Local 18 (Wisconsin) and Local 565 (Madison, Wis.) – along with SMART delegates attending the SMART Sign and Production Council in Milwaukee – arrived at Menomonee Park lodge early on Thursday morning.

Members removed all the contents of the lodge, cleaned and sanitized the entire building – rooms, kitchen, common areas and more – and cleaned and sanitized every piece of equipment in the lodge before reinstalling all furnishings. Others took care of basic landscaping, repair and maintenance needs for the lodge picnic area, music pavilion, tent boxes and swing sets: fixing picnic tables and accessible wooden walkways, setting up heavy-duty tents for campers to use, spreading woodchips, sanitizing toys and recreational materials, and more. To finish off the effort, SMART members presented a $33,000 to ARCh Camp Pow Wow: a demonstration of the union’s commitment to supporting local communities across the United States and Canada.

“Although they have been challenging for everyone, the past two years have caused massive loneliness and frustration among children and adults with disabilities,” said Lindahl. “Thanks to the skill and dedication of the SMART Army, our campers can now safely and joyously return to the summer fun that they have missed so much!”

Our union is in mourning after losing Jose “Joe” Alfaro, a member of SMART Transportation Division for more than 15 years, to the COVID-19 pandemic on Nov. 13. He was 58 years old.

Brother Jose Alfaro of Local 18 in El Paso, Texas, a 15-year SMART-TD member, died from COVID-19 on Nov. 13, 2020.

Brother Alfaro was a member of Local 18 in El Paso, Texas, and worked as a trainman/brakeman for Union Pacific.
He leaves behind his wife of 22 years, Ruoana and four children: Avan Brian, Mia Brianna, Vanessa and Robert.
An online fundraiser has been established by Local 18 Secretary & Treasurer Catarino Montero with the proceeds going to benefit Brother Alfaro’s family.
“His wife and kids wanted us to thank you from the bottom of their hearts for your prayers and donations. She is grateful for everything you all have done,” Montero wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We personally wanted to thank everyone for all your donations and help during this time. At the end of the day, we are all a railroad family and unite to help one another out, and during these tough times it has really shown!”
When asked to describe Joe, co-workers shared:
“Joe always would show up to work with a smile and a genuine greeting, so even if you were having a bad day, he always seemed to bring out the best in you.”
“He was a great switchman and better friend.”
Follow this link to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are currently no plans for a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations to the fundraiser would be appreciated.
SMART-TD offers its sincere condolences to Brother Alfaro’s family as well as his union brothers and sisters in Local 18 and beyond.