SMART-TD Brothers and Sisters,
Due to an alarming amount of misinformation, I would like to provide answers to some of the questions and concerns that I have been receiving over the past few weeks, as well as provide an update on where we are in the process regarding the tentative agreement (TA).
The question and answer (Q&A) period for the general chairpersons is still underway as per our constitution. The deadline for submissions is October 7th. Once the questions have been submitted, they will be checked for duplication and wording, which is estimated to take three to four days. A final single document will then be submitted to the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), with whom we will meet to reach an agreement on the final answers. A meeting will promptly follow so our target date for the ballots to be sent to you, the members, can be achieved. The final Q&A will be part of the tentative agreement and will be included in its entirety for members to review before voting.
Several topics have also arisen that we would like to respond to regarding the upcoming vote every member will hopefully be casting regarding the tentative agreement:
- Ballot and voting information for SMART-TD has not been put out. Per the SMART-TD Constitution, Article 21(B), Section 91, ballots and instructions cannot be sent out in any capacity until the Q&A stage of the agreement process has been met. Anyone claiming or posting on social media that they have received a ballot and instructions should be taken with caution as nothing has been authorized by my office. I will never submit material to the membership instructing them to vote YES or NO. I will only provide only the facts and let you decide.
- Contrary to certain groups and social media rumors, the SMART-TD Constitution does not allow for a non-vote to be counted as a YES vote. This protection means that EVERY vote is important. Every member of the union needs to make sure their vote is submitted, regardless of voting yes or no. The SMART Constitution clearly states: “A majority of the members voting of each of the crafts to be covered or affected by the terms of the proposed agreement shall be required to ratify the offer of settlement.” Voting is your most sacred and powerful right as a union member. Please encourage your fellow brothers and sisters to take part in the upcoming vote.
- A recent accusation is circulating that if the majority of the membership votes not to ratify the tentative agreement, SMART-TD will override the NO vote and force the tentative agreement on the membership. This is materially FALSE. Your International leadership does NOT have the ability under the SMART Constitution to overturn a vote. In the event that the majority votes no, we would go back to the table until a resolution is either forced on us by Congress or a resolution that the SMART-TD membership would ratify is presented.
I would ask that you consider the source of information that is projecting this reckless and materially false information. Social media posts, news and blog articles from other sources and discussions around the yards are contributing to a large amount of misinformation being spread. These sources do not have the “inside information” as they claim. The information posted on the SMART union website and its official social media pages is THE source for completely accurate content regarding the Tentative Agreement.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Jeremy R. Ferguson
President, Transportation Division