SMART published the first episode of SMART News – a new video/web show focused on issues of importance to SMART members and working families across North America – on September 27, 2022, responding to feedback from SMART workers on the information from their union that they find relevant.

“SMART News will focus on issues that matter to you, your job and your family,” said Paul Pimentel of SMART Communications during the first episode. “This is your news, your union, delivering information that matters to you.”

SMART News is intended to fill an information void for SMART members and other workers in North America by specifically addressing events and developments that impact their lives and their communities – in other words, news that often goes uncovered. The first episode features an update from SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson on freight rail contract negotiations; information on new megaprojects and indoor air quality work for sheet metal workers; a discussion on progress made for SMART members with General President Joseph Sellers; an overview on the FRA’s proposed two-person crew regulation from TD Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity; and much more.

Watch the full episode above, or find specific links to segments of the show below. To watch an extended interview with TD President Ferguson, text RRContract to 667336.

Jump to a segment in this episode:

Members of SMART Local 206 demonstrated our union’s commitment to acting on our values during the San Diego Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K, held on August 20. Carry Forward 5Ks – which take place at cities across the country throughout the year – are fitness and fundraising events that give participants the chance to both pay tribute to and raise money for wounded veterans, helping fulfil the Wounded Warrior Project’s mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors. During the San Diego Carry Forward run, Local 206 showed out in force.

“The SMART Army represented like no other team in both numbers and dollars donated, with 97 registered and over $10,000 raised,” Financial Secretary-Treasurer/Business Manager Dave Gauthier wrote on Facebook.

As part of the fundraising effort, Local 206 challenged other area labor unions to get involved – and they did, most notably IBEW Local 569. It was a display not just of labor solidarity, but of the vital role union members play in serving their communities.

“Although this money is going to help our wounded heroes, the day had a big impact on our members and their families too, including several of our veteran members – two of them came to us directly from Wounded Warriors here in San Diego,” Gauthier added. “You could see the excitement and appreciation in their faces as we gathered together to make a difference in our community and our country.”

Do you have dreams of starting your own service business? Or do you have an existing sheet metal business that you’d like to add a service department to? If so, the International Training Institute (ITI) Service Academy is for you.

The ITI launched its new Service Academy in April, aimed at supporting union sheet metal workers who want to become service contractors signatory to SMART, as well as existing signatory contractors looking to add a service arm to their business. The academy features a series of courses designed to teach SMART members the fundamentals of business ownership and help them decide whether or not to start a business.

Beginning with the ITI Business Development course, participants are introduced to the tools they need to plan for successful business ownership, including choosing a business name, hiring and retaining the right people, bidding accurately, keeping track of cash flow and more. The Business Development course also gives participants a jump-start on writing a comprehensive business plan and examines strategies for marketing and financing a new business in today’s construction and service markets.

Once they have completed Business Development, participants can choose from various courses in the Service Academy’s pathway, addressing the needs of members at all stages in their careers.

For example, the Basic Service Technician Training course is designed for those who have gained knowledge and insight into the Business Development and Service Manager courses but need more hands-on experience working with the tools of the trade. Another course, the Service Specialty Manager Training, is for those who want to open a dedicated service department at an existing signatory contractor. Participants learn the ins and outs of dispatch, cost of overhead, maintenance contracts, marketing and more.

The Service Academy provides the most robust and well-rounded approach to the service side of the industry and includes more than just HVACR. With multiple course selections available, the academy is centered on participants’ needs and will address a broader perspective of service-based scopes of work, including – but not limited to – HVAC Fire Life Safety, TAB, BIM and Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality. Most of the courses are offered either entirely online or in a hybrid learning environment, and independent study expectations are kept manageable for participants who are still working full time in the field.

Visit the Service Academy website to learn more!

The newly certified ICB/TABB contractors listed below recently entered the ranks of elite professionals who have proven they are at the top of their craft, meet the rigorous requirements for ICB/TABB certification and employ certified, highly skilled technicians and supervisors who continue to improve their skills with continuing education units and who invest their knowledge in the future. These TABB, fire and smoke damper, and commissioning contractors perform quality work for customers of the HVAC sheet metal industry while providing a solid company bottom line.

Healthy, forward-thinking companies like these are the lifeblood of our profession – and NEMIC and its certifying bodies, ICB/TABB, are here to help contractors help customers by identifying emerging technology, certifications, legislation, HVAC Fire Life Safety, indoor air quality, marketing and branding, field staff support and much more.

Please join us in congratulating the following companies for demonstrating the highest level of excellence, commitment and dedication to our industry:

CertificationCertification DateCompanyCompany CityLocal Union
TABB Contractor3/30/2022Pan-Pacific MechanicalFremont, CA104
TABB Contractor3/8/2022Bledsoe Environmental, LLCIndianapolis, IN20
TABB Contractor, Commissioning3/8/2022Built Environmental Systems TestingCashion, OK124
TABB Contractor3/3/2022Total MechanicalPewaukee, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022T&B ServiceEau Claire, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022Big City BalancingAstoria, NY28
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc.Woodridge, IL265
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022Sunset Air, Inc.Lacey, WA66
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor2/14/2022Cahill Sketching and InspectingSomerdale, NJ19

Click here for more information on becoming an ICB/TABB Certified Contractor.

In late March, SMART mem­bers joined union brothers and sisters from across the Okla­homa labor movement for a good cause. Together with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Major League Fishing (MLF) Fisher­ies Management Division (FMD), local union members teamed up at REDCREST — MLF’s Bass Pro Tour championship — to build 120 artificial fish habitats. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conserva­tion, MLF co-founder and Bass Fishing Hall of Fame inductee Gary Klein, FMD members and MossBack Fish Habitat deployed some of the structures into Lake Bixhoma shortly after to improve the quality of life for numerous fish species.

“Much of the natural fish habitat once found in many of our reservoirs has been buried by siltation or slowly degraded over time as it decom­poses,” said Steven Bardin, a fisheries biologist with MLF-FMD. “This habitat loss must be addressed if we plan to continue to support healthy fish populations. That’s why a project like the Ferguson Habitat build and partnerships with Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, MossBack Fish Habitat, the KVD Foundation and Berkley Labs are so important to MLF Fisheries Management Division.”

In projects like the one at REDCREST, community engage­ment is a concrete aim — and that aim was certainly achieved in Oklahoma, in no small part because of the enthusiasm and skill set of union members who took part

Habitat restoration projects like the one at REDCREST target fisheries near MLF Bass Pro Tour stage locations and — using science-based methods, a community-driven approach and materials preferred by local agencies — help to reestablish natural areas of local communi­ties. The event at REDCREST saw 41 union volunteers representing Sheet Metal Workers Local 270, the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, Transportation Workers Local 514, Roofers Local 143, Electrical Workers Local 584 and National Letter Carriers Local 1358 donate 530 hours — a $28,090 value — to build the habitats using tools donated by Milwaukee Tool and materials provided by Ferguson and MossBack Fish.

“The Oklahoma AFL-CIO has partnered with the USA on multiple projects in Oklahoma, and the communities are always grateful for the work we do. During the expo, many attendees stopped by the booth to ask questions about the habitat builds and the work the USA does,” said Jimmy C. Curry, Oklahoma AFL-CIO president, who organized volunteers for the project. “I’ve personally done work with our unions and different charities for over 30 years, and the projects we have done with the USA have been my most memorable. Seeing the work the USA does has made me a Union Sportsman for life.”

MLF and the USA signed an agreement in July 2021 to pursue angler recruitment, retention and reactivation via each entity’s staff and respective pools of member volunteers in order to put together local and state fishing events, MLF fishing events and USA habitat conservation projects.

“Through our Work Boots on the Ground conservation program, the USA reaches into local communi­ties to create and improve access and opportunities in the outdoors,” said Forrest Parker, USA director of conservation and communications. “Combining the USA’s workforce of union volunteers with the resources and influence of Major League Fishing through projects like this propel both of our organizations’ efforts to pass on the fishing heritage to a whole new level.”

In projects like the one at REDCREST, community engage­ment is a concrete aim — and that aim was certainly achieved in Oklahoma, in no small part because of the enthusiasm and skill set of union members who took part.

“An added benefit of bringing together skilled union volunteers to complete a conservation project in the middle of an event attended by tens of thousands of bass fans was the educational component,” said Sam Phipps, USA conserva­tion programs manager. “There were hourly demonstrations and printed instructions avail­able, so expo attendees can now build habitats on their own to benefit additional water bodies and fisheries.”

On March 19, 2022, the SM Local 27 (Southern N.J.) SMART Army filled 42 contractor trash bags with litter during a trash cleanup spanning two miles of Silver Run Road in Millville, N.J. Local 27 Business Agent John Whittington and his son joined members Don Cooper, Ken Andeloro, Mike Mendez, John David­son, Pete Polumbo, Malcolm Hill, John Manera, Jaden Sheppard, Dave Cooper, Mark Weatherby, Clarence Harris, Organizer Greg Goble and Business Agent Matt Johnson for the effort.

As part of the Easter holiday festivities in their community, SM Local 33 (Toledo, Ohio) members worked with A.N.G.E.L.S Outreach to hand out 110 food baskets to local families. Founded in 1995, A.N.G.E.L.S Outreach provides food baskets to those in need of a helping hand during Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. SMART members who participated: Rod Graffis, Clint Dockery, Julie Price, Chris Monaghan, Bill Dukeshire, Nadine Dukeshire, Gary Schwartz, Laura Blackwell, Gail Mistiatis, Ray Schlagheck, Dick Schuller, Nick Koelsch and Jim Domanowski.

Pictured left to right are SMART Local 71 members Paul Holland, Nick Hoffman, Anthony Paris, Shilo Rogers, Dan Morino, Jeff Gatti and Ryan Hurley. As part of Local 71’s SMART Army and Apprenticeship Community Service programs, these members partici­pated in a cleanup of Raymond Klimek Veteran’s Park in North Tonawanda, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo. Spear­headed by Paris, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran, the beautification project took place on May 21–22, one weekend ahead of Memorial Day. Not pictured are Busi­ness Manager Paul Crist and Business Agent Timothy Benes, who also participated in the cleanup.

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!”

The Local 80 SMART Army was out in full force this April in Detroit, Mich., headed up by retiree Richard Flood and Apprenticeship Training Center Instructor Dennis Marintette. After a long career training the next generation of apprentices at the Local 80 Training Center, Flood now donates much of his time to Habitat for Humanity and other charitable projects, where his talents and skills help those in need. Using material donated by Local 80, equipment generously donated by one of Local 80’s signatory contractors — Macomb Mechanical — and the guidance of the training instructors, Local 80 apprentices showed up to install the HVAC system for local nonprofit PR Kids.

In 2016, Beth Pierson founded PR Kids to provide assistance to mothers in need. Whether it be low-income, undocumented or single parents — or any of a multitude of other situations — PR Kids offers help in securing affordable housing, prenatal services, therapy or even help with finding employment in child care. Pierson recently purchased a house from the Detroit land bank, intending to create an office to accommodate local families in need, as well as a nursing clinic on-site to assist new mothers with infant nursing. She spent a lot of her own money to make the structure safe and inhabitable, and now she is receiving support from others in the community to push her effort over the finish line.