Educate—Organize—Mobilize! This is the theme for SMART Transportation Division’s upcoming regional meetings, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, on June 12-14 and New York City, New York, on July 10-12.
This theme was selected in order to continue our renewed emphasis on education and training and also to build awareness of the many tools that are offered to take that training to the next level.
Educate – This year’s workshops will build on the positive feedback received from last year’s meetings, offering improved course studies for members and officers. The courses are offered with multiple tracks to enhance the skills of every member, including full schedules designed for legislative matters, local officer training, bus issues and treasurer workshops.
Reinstating a well-received initiative, this year the meetings will again offer a certification program for those who wish to participate. Members may record attendance by scanning their badge at the conclusion of each workshop. Those who participate at the higher levels will receive a certificate and a lapel pin in recognition of their achievement.
Organize – The meetings this year will offer guidance on strategies and techniques to implement the lessons learned during the workshops. Whether it be organizing to improve the conduct of a local meeting or forming a group to get out the vote come election time, the goal is to assist all attendees in developing the skills necessary to apply at the local level and incorporate the lessons learned during the meetings.
Mobilize! This is a critical part of this year’s theme. Now, more than ever before, we are in a political environment that is unfriendly to organized labor. There are efforts underway at the local, state and federal levels to dismantle many of the protections and benefits that labor has earned during the 150-year history of the American labor movement.
From taxing workers on their employer-provided health care, to implementing right-to-work at the national level, many people not favorable to organized labor view this time as a window of opportunity to advance their anti-labor initiatives.
The threats are real and it will take an educated, organized and mobilized strategy by all of labor to counteract the efforts of those who are attempting to turn back the clock.
Accordingly, this year’s regional meetings will have a special focus on mobilization at the local level. From lobbying first responders in support of our two-person crew bills, to speaking out in Washington through utilization of the SMART TD Legislative Action Center, success in this environment will depend on an informed and mobilized membership.
All members need to be informed and prepared to offer support and assistance when called upon. It is through our collective efforts that we will be able to withstand attacks on the benefits, wages, retirement, regulations and transit funding that provide a safe working environment and a good living for our members and their families.
I look forward to seeing you at the regional meetings in San Antonio and New York!
John Previsich President, SMART Transportation Division
SMART Transportation Division has opened registration for the San Antonio and New York City Regional Meetings. Pre-registration cost for both meetings is $150 per person, per meeting; children 11 and under are free. Persons who do not pre-register, but choose to register after the deadline or on-site will be charged an additional $50 per attendee. The deadline to be considered pre-registered for the San Antonio meeting is Wednesday, May 10. The deadline to be considered pre-registered for the New York City meeting is Tuesday, June 6. Workshops are free to attend and begin on Monday and end on Wednesday at approximately 12:30 p.m. at each meeting. Members who do not wish to attend meals, tours or golf, do not need to register. As per usual, spousal/guest tours are $35 per tour, per registered guest; or, $75 per tour per unregistered guest. Tours will take place Sunday, June 11 and Monday, June 12 at the San Antonio Regional Meeting; and, Sunday, July 9 and Monday, July 10 at the New York City Regional Meeting. Tour details will be announced at a later date. Space on the tours is limited; reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. PLEASE NOTE! SAN ANTONIO GOLF OUTING has been CANCELLED The Sunday June 11th San Antonio Regional Meeting golf tournament scheduled for Brackenridge Park Golf Course has been cancelled. Anyone registered for this golf tournament will receive a full refund. Please call SMART TD headquarters at 216-228-9400 to obtain a refund. Please note that hotel reservations are separate and should be made directly with the respective hotel. SMART TD recommends that hotel reservations be made at this time if you have not already done so.
Registration for San Antonio
The San Antonio Regional Meeting will take place June 12-14 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio Hotel. Registration and payment must be received at SMART TD headquarters by May 10 for all attendees to be considered pre-registered. Click here to register online. Click here to fill-out and print the mail-in form. Click here for more details about the San Antonio meeting.
Registration for New York City
The New York City Regional Meeting will take place July 10-12 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Registration and payment must be received at SMART TD headquarters by June 6 for all attendees to be considered pre-registered. Click here to register online. Click here to fill-out and print the mail-in form. Click here for more details about the New York City meeting.
By John Previsich, SMART Transportation Division President –
Today, people who work in a unionized environment are facing challenges unlike any that have come before. The current political climate is fostering attacks not only on organized labor, but also on the rights and entitlements of workers in every industry.
From “right to work for less” bills being introduced all over the country to continual attacks on retirement and health care benefits, today’s workers are more in need of strong and effective representation than ever before. Your union is a leader in advocating on behalf of its members in every forum – from our regulatory and legislative efforts in Washington, D.C., and the state houses, to the day-to-day representation of our members at the local level – no union does a better job of representing the interests of its members.
However, the current political climate makes it much more challenging to achieve the successful outcomes that our members deserve. Budget squabbles and funding decisions made by elected officials affect each and every one of our members every day. Who gets elected really does matter and it is critically important that our members consider carefully their choice of candidate when they cast their votes.
Candidates for public office who support issues important to unionized labor deserve our votes. Those who will vote against our interests do not. Your union is developing new communication tools that will keep our members informed about which candidates deserve our support.
A key component of good representation and good citizenship is education and training. In the centerfold of this publication, you will find information on the 2015 SMART Transportation Division Regional Meetings. The focus of this year’s meetings is education, training and what it means to be a union member.
With no meetings held in 2014 because of our need to have two conventions, that hiatus provided an opportunity to renew and invigorate the regional meeting format for 2015 and beyond.
New offerings include workshops on the rights and responsibilities of all local officers, from the local president to the trustees, and comprehensive training for local chairpersons and local legislative representatives.
If you currently hold any local office or believe that you may want to run for election in the future, these workshops are designed to tell you everything that you need to know to be an effective representative of your fellow members. These workshops are not restricted to officers – they are designed to be informative for all members who have an interest in how business is properly done at the local level.
Also new to the meeting agenda are enhanced workshops for our bus members designed to address issues of interest to members in the bus industry.
In addition, there will be an array of workshops with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board and others to provide updates on numerous issues including federal certification, positive train control, the Rail Safety Advisory Committee, Confidential Close Call Reporting (C3RS), retirement benefits and much more. Also in attendance will be representatives from our health care providers to provide information and advice on matters of importance to you and your family.
And of course, the topic of national rail contract negotiations will be front and center, with the latest information and updates presented during the meetings. Your national negotiating committee will be in attendance at both meetings and this is your opportunity to talk in person with those who are directly involved in negotiating your contract.
Your union – your future. The strength of our organization begins with each and every member and our future depends on a membership that is motivated and trained to advance the union message. I am confident that our enhanced regional meeting agenda will prove valuable to all who are able to attend.
By BONNIE MORR Alternate Vice President, Bus Department
Bus Department workshops at the San Antonio and New York regional meetings were among the most informative in many years, and reflect the promise of President Futhey to beef-up and place greater emphasis on those workshops.
The workshop on solidarity and uniting of our membership focused on how labor, beginning at the local level, can make a difference at the bargaining table and in state and congressional legislative chambers.
Local and general committee officers found significant benefit in a technical workshop on how to write more effectively in grievance proceedings.
The new cell phone ban and other safety issues was timely and punctuated with videos of actual accidents, allowing discussion of causes and accident avoidance.
Officials from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) presented essential information on labor law affecting collective bargaining and grievance handling under the National Labor Relations Act.
An especially fruitful workshop opened the floor to discussions of issues facing individual locals, allowing a collective sharing of ideas and solutions.
Bus Department members also benefited from several workshops dealing with transportation issues and labor challenges that affecting all crafts and organized labor in general.
Legislative breakout sessions provided information state-specific legislation affecting Bus Department members and working families. The role of the UTU Collective Bargaining Fund and UTU PAC in turning back anti-labor efforts by political extremists and electing labor-friendly candidates was most informative.
The Bus Department intends to build on the success of these workshops at our 2012 regional meetings in Portland, Ore. (June 18-20), and Memphis, Tenn. (July 23-25), and we encourage that you begin making plans to attend one of those meetings to improve your skills as effective leaders and trade unionists.
Place your cursor on “Safety” in the drop-down menu above, and then left-click on “Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis”
Left-click on the SOFA logo.
Left-click on the first link, “Findings and Advisories of the SOFA Working Group Volume I.”
Scroll to Chapter Three, “Switching Fatalities – Understanding and Prevention,” which begins at page 13.
“This chapter will give you a good introduction to the entire report and a basic understanding of the report before you attend one of the SOFA workshops,” says UTU Louisiana State Legislative Director Gary Devall, who is one of the UTU’s representatives on the SOFA working group along with Minnesota State Legislative Director Phil Qualy and Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo.
Also to be found on the page where the SOFA logo appears, is the first quarter 2011 SOFA update.
All UTU members working in rail yards also are urged to review the following message on yard safety:
Thinking of election to union office in the future? Want to improve your skills representing members? Or maybe you just want to gain a better understanding of labor law, grievance handling, transportation regulation and transportation safety?
UTU regional meetings are crafted to meet those objectives, and there is still time to register for the June regional meeting in San Antonio June 20-22, or in New York City July 4-6.
Click on the following link to learn more about registering:
Here is a sample of the workshops to be conducted at each regional meeting — all conducted by experts, who include attorneys, federal officials, seasoned arbitrators, UTU officers with considerable experience in the subject matter, and carrier labor officers:
Responding to hazmat emergencies and keeping crew members safe.
Reducing worker risks in rail yards.
Understanding the Railway Labor Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the National Mediation Board and the National Labor Relations Board.
Operation of a public law board, including a live arbitration hearing.
Grievance handling for rail and bus members, and how to develop investigative strategies and techniques.
Best practices in representing members.
How to handle unruly airline, bus and rail passengers.
Conductor certification and what it means.
The basics of positive train control.
Preparing for and participating in contract negotiations, and the role of mediators.
Lobbying techniques before state legislatures and Congress.
Understanding the surge in political attacks on collective bargaining rights, Railroad Retirement, Social Security and Medicare, and how union solidarity can halt the success of those attacks.
The role of designated legal counsel in accident investigations and medical treatment.
Local secretary-treasurer training, including requirements and duties and using WinStabs software.
The role of the UTU Auxiliary.
Another significant value of attending regional meetings is to share experiences and strategies with members of all crafts and from across the nation — following workshops and during evening social gatherings.
Workshops also offer question and answer sessions.
Each regional meeting concludes with a state-of-the union message by International President Mike Futhey, and International officers will be in attendance at each meeting to respond to questions and concerns of members.
Many members bring spouses and children to regional meetings, where planned activities are provided for their enjoyment while members attend workshops.