TALKING SMART

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Ep. 16: Mentorship and the “I Got Your Back” Campaign

Louise Medina
Louise Medina

In our new Talking SMART episode, we focus on mentorship, mutual support in the workplace, and working pro-actively to address issues such as hazing, bullying and discrimination. Our featured guests are SMART Local 265 Business Representative Louise Medina and Local 265 member Mike Powers.

Every member has had at least one person in his or her career who has stood up for them, provided formal or informal mentorship, or been there in times of crisis or need. SMART has launched the I Got Your Back” campaign as a way to recognize those who have stepped up and stood up for what’s right and to reinforce a culture of paying it forward.

Mike Powers 
Mike Powers

Sister Medina is a Business Representative at Local 265 and serves as President of the SMART Recruitment and Retention Council. Brother Powers is also a Local 265 member who now serves as a trustee at his local.  He began as an apprentice at Wiesbrook sheet metal and spent his apprenticeship and following journeyman years learning all aspects of architectural and job management.  

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question about what SMART is doing to promote workplace environments that are free of bullying, harassment, hazing and discrimination.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

 

 

Ep. 15: Long Trains, Two-Person Crews and Rail Safety

In our new Talking SMART episode, we dig into freight rail issues that affect both the safety of railroad workers and the safety of communities around the country. Our featured guests are SMART Transportation Division Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo and Transportation Division Nebraska State Legislative Director Bob Borgeson.

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Ty Dragoo

Brother Dragoo followed his father into the railroad industry and hired on as a conductor for Union Pacific in 2005. He has served as a legislative representative of Local 1503 in Marysville, Kansas, been the state’s legislative director since 2010 and helped lead efforts to create a transportation safety task force in his state. Ty spoke with us about his work in Kansas, including two-person crew legislation and the downsides of so-called precision scheduled railroading.

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Bob Borgeson

Brother Borgeson represents SMART in a state – Nebraska – with a high concentration of Transportation Division members and works to bring greater public attention to the important work our members do. Bob spoke with us about the negative impacts of long trains, efforts to move two-person crew legislation in Nebraska, and the innovative media and outreach tools SMART has used recently to bring attention to key rail safety issues in his state.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question about what SMART is doing nationally to try and make two-person crew the law of the land, especially under new leadership at the Federal Railroad Administration that is not actively trying to block two-person crew regulations.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

 

 

Ep. 14: The 1st 100 Days of the Biden-Harris Administration

Back in January, we met with Steve Dodd and Greg Hynes to talk about the 2020 election and what to expect from the Biden-Harris administration. We have brought them back for this Talking SMART episode to talk about the first 100 days of the administration and, more specifically, its impact on SMART members. 

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Steve Dodd

Brother Dodd is SMART’s Director of Governmental Affairs. He spoke with us about the many actions the Biden administration has already taken to support working families, including positive impacts of the passage of the American Rescue Plan on COBRA, unemployment benefits, multiemployer pensions, and funding for school HVAC retrofits. He also discussed the PRO Act and what it means for SMART members to have so many labor friendly people now appointed to top positions in the Biden administration.  

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Greg Hynes

Brother Hynes is a fifth-generation railroader and SMART TD’s National Legislative Director. He discussed how the Biden Administration, in contrast to the previous administration, now very much has an open door for labor and actively seeks input from unions on issues of concern to working families. Greg also touched on how the American Rescue Plan included funding to rehire furloughed Amtrak workers, the significance of new leadership at the Federal Rail Administration which is now re-prioritizing rail safety over corporate profits, and what it really means when politicians or rail carriers say we need to just “cut back on regulations.”

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with SMART General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to multiple questions that have come in from SMART members asking about what steps the Biden-Harris administration has taken to address the multiemployer pension crisis. 

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network — working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

Ep. 13: Illinois SMART Army Delivered When Disaster Struck

IL Locals Hit the Road to Help Texans 

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Matt Gugala

April is SMART Army Month of Community Action. And this episode our featured guest is Matt Gugala, an organizer with SMART Local 265 and the SMART Army coordinator for the state of Illinois.

Brother Gugala has been in the sheet metal trade since 1995, and was accepted to the apprenticeship program in 2002. He has worked on a wide variety of projects, including residential sheet metal, custom fabrication, commercial/industrial service and testing and balancing.  He was also a subject matter expert in developing the ITI’s TABB Supervisor test. In 2019, Matt was one of the inaugural winners of the Joseph J. Nigro SMART Army Service Award for outstanding community service and leadership, along with Ronnie Hobbs from Local 854 in Virginia, who was on our last episode.

Matt talked with us about a recent SMART Army project by Illinois locals to gather and deliver a large quantity of bottled water to Texas residents in need of clean water after severe winter storms. He also discussed his work with the SMART Army around fire life safety legislation in Illinois, which significantly impacts both SMART member work hours and public safety.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question from a SMART member about what our union is doing to support members who are interested in running for elected office in their local communities and states.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

Ep. 12: The SMART Army is on the Move in Virginia

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Ronnie Hobbs

April is SMART Army Month of Community Action. And this episode our featured guest is Ronnie Hobbs, a true SMART Army pioneer. 

Brother Hobbs is the SMART Transportation Division legislative director for the state of Virginia, and a member of Local 854 in Portsmouth. In addition to working for Norfolk Southern and lobbying state legislators in Richmond, he is the state’s SMART Army coordinator. He has spent a lot of time and energy enhancing the union’s profile throughout the state of Virginia via the SMART Army. At the 2019 SMART General Convention, Ronnie was honored — along with Matt Gugala from Local 265 in Illinois — with the Joseph J. Nigro SMART Army Service Award for outstanding community service and leadership.

We talk with Ronnie about the community projects and service the SMART Army has done in Virginia, including collecting clothing for the homeless, food drives, sponsoring Little League events and repairing and donating a golf cart for a young cancer patient to drive around his neighborhood.

We also discuss Ronnie’s state legislative work around two-person crew and other issues important to SMART members, as well as his mobilization efforts that turned out scores of SMART members to attend committee hearings, meet lawmakers and see in-person how the legislative process works.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question from a SMART member about what union members have gained from our endorsement in the 2020 presidential election.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

Ep. 11: Indoor Air Quality and Reopening Schools & Workplaces

Ep. 11: Indoor Air Quality and Re-opening Schools & Workplaces

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Dave Bernett

This episode, our featured guest is Dave Bernett, the administrator at the National Energy Management Institute Committee, or NEMIC. Brother Bernett works with a team of professionals developing workforce training and personnel certifications for SMART members and employers in the sheet metal construction industry.

With three COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed in North America and around the globe, attention is increasingly turning to how we can safely re-open schools, offices and public spaces across the country. Airborne transmission of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces is a major cause of spread of the virus. As new variants emerge at the same time states and provinces are starting to loosen coronavirus restrictions, indoor air quality is a top concern.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bernett and the NEMIC team have been working with subject matter experts, researchers and policymakers to develop protocols and procedures for ventilation verification and repairs of HVAC systems to ensure people may safely re-enter classrooms and buildings across the United states and Canada.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question from a SMART member about why it seems so hard to take care of the men and women who have served in our militaries.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

Ep. 10: What to Expect After Jan. 20

This episode, we sit down with two of SMART’s national legislative leaders, Steve Dodd and Greg Hynes, to talk about the assault on our capital and what to expect after the January 20 inauguration. We also discuss the significance of the Georgia Senate race and Democratic control of the Senate, SMART’s legislative priorities in 2021, SMART’s election mobilization efforts, and what the Biden/Harris administration is likely to do to help working families and make union organizing easier.

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Steve Dodd

Brother Dodd is SMART’s Director of Governmental Affairs and was a driving force in SMART’s 2020 election mobilization. He began his sheet metal apprenticeship in 1984 at SM Local 172 in New York City, which later merged with Local 137. He became a journeymen in just three years, worked at the same shop for 13 years and was shop steward for eight. For seven years, he was Secretary-Treasurer of the Sheet Metal Metropolitan Association, which consists of leaders from building trades locals across the Northeastern United States.

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Greg Hynes

Brother Hynes is SMART TD’s National Legislative Director.  Brother Hynes  is a fifth-generation railroader born in Winslow, Ariz., hiring out with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1995. He transferred to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1997. He was elected Arizona assistant state legislative director in 2004, elevated to Arizona state legislative director in 2009 and was elected national legislative director at the Second SMART TD Convention on August 2019. He helps to lead SMART TD’s efforts on Capitol Hill and has vast experience advocating for all SMART TD members on both legislative and regulatory matters.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to questions from SMART members about the attacks on our nation’s capital and democratic process.

 

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network — working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.

 

Ep. 9: As AZ State Rep, TD Railroader Fights for Working Families

 Jeff Proffitt
Richard Andrade

Our guest this episode is Richard Andrade, who has been a member of TD Local 1081 in Arizona for 26 years. Brother Andrade is a Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives, representing District 29, which covers parts of Phoenix and Glendale, Ariz. He is running for re-election in 2020 for his fourth term in the state House.

A third-generation railroader, Andrade first hired out with the Santa Fe Railroad (now BNSF) in 1994. He is a certified engineer and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He serves on the state House’s Land & Agriculture, Public Safety and Transportation Committees. He’s also chairman of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, in a state that could potentially turn blue in the 2020 election. He brings his deep knowledge of railroad issues and staunch support for Arizona working families to the state legislature.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question about ideology and union endorsements.

 

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.


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Ep. 8: Campaigning for a Future for All Kids in NV

 Jeff Proffitt
Jeff Proffitt

Our guest this episode is Jeff Proffitt, who has been a member of Local 88 in Las Vegas, NV, for 28 years. He was previously the local’s training director and is currently serving as a business manager at Local 88. Brother Proffitt is also running for the Clark County School Board as a trustee from District B. It's a big position with one of the fastest-growing school districts in the country.

As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, that’s not the case with this episode… Jeff told us ALL about what happens in Vegas — including what's happening with this race in Clark County, as well as the huge impact that school board decisions can have on construction spending, project labor agreements and technical training for the building trades. 

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to a question from a member about local elections.

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.


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Ep. 7: Rich McClees Reflects on Legendary Career, Sheet Metal Industry

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Rich McClees

This episode, we step back for a moment from the news of the day and talk with a long-time SMART member, apprenticeship instructor and international leader who helped build our union into what it is today. Outgoing SMART General Secretary-Treasurer Rich McClees sat down with us just before his retirement in 2019 to discuss changes he has seen in the industry, where SMART has been as a union, where we are going, and how we can get there.

With more than 40 years in the sheet metal industry under his belt, Rich has more knowledge about how SMART works and how our union has adapted and evolved to meet new challenges than just about anyone. He also has a stellar reputation in the industry and a legendary work ethic. From his start at Local 206 in San Diego, to his more than two decades as an elected local leader and apprenticeship instructor, to his tenure as SMART general secretary-treasurer, Rich has built a lot of things, led a lot of projects and made a lot of things better for those coming after him.

In addition, listen for the open mic segment with General President Joseph Sellers at the end of this episode. He responds to questions from members on topics they called or emailed us about. This episode’s question revolves around the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19.

 

Talking SMART is a member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network working people's voices, broadcasting worldwide 24 hours a day.


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