By SMART General President Joe Nigro –
It was really great meeting so many of your leadership team at the recent regional meetings in Boston and Anaheim. They are an active and involved group with a commitment to the labor movement. It confirmed my belief in the potential value we have in joining forces on several fronts to build membership and greater influence at all political levels. I used the opportunity to talk candidly about the importance of finalizing the merger when the result of the current arbitration is received. As soon as we have that opinion, an interim SMART Constitution, comporting the Transportation Division Constitution (Article 21B) with the SMART Constitution in accordance with the Merger Agreement, will be effective until the adoption of a new SMART Constitution at the SMART General Convention, beginning Aug. 11, 2014.
Essentially, there are two stages in the process for developing a new constitution that will guide SMART’s operations for five years. Amendments proposed through the provisions of the Transportation Constitution (Article 21B) will be submitted for vote by the delegates at the Transportation Division Convention to be held June 30 – July 2, 2014. The approved amendments at that convention shall be submitted to the SMART Constitution Committee as recommendations. The SMART Constitution Committee, composed of delegates from both the sheet metal and the transportation operations of SMART, shall consider and submit all amendment recommendations for concurrence or non-concurrence by all delegates to the SMART General Convention.
Every member of SMART must be involved in the process. The SMART Constitution governs the union, its officials at all levels and, most importantly, the members. It’s really a contract between you and your union. To help keep you better informed and to make transparent the provisions of your membership, we’ve posted the current SMWIA Constitution, the Merger Agreement and the November 2011 Arbitrator’s Opinion and Award on the www.smart-union.org homepage. The interim SMART Constitution should be available in October to be posted on the www.smart-union.org website and the www.utu.org website. In addition, each SMART local will receive printed copies for members without access to the Internet to read at the local’s office. Most community libraries also provide access to the Internet.
I encourage you to submit any proposed amendments to your local union for consideration in preparing its amendments to be submitted to the respective Constitution Committees in accordance with the provisions in Article 13, lines 1-18, in the UTU Constitution and Article 33 in the SMWIA Constitution. If you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or to SMART Constitution, 1750 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20006, for referral to the appropriate office.
As this publication is being finalized, thousands are marching and gathering at the Lincoln Memorial, just a few blocks from our offices, to commemorate the peaceful march in 1963 and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Jobs and justice still require national attention and we must be involved in assuring those for ourselves and future generations.
Let me close by thanking Al Nowlin’s wife, Phyllis, for asking me at the Anaheim regional meeting to present a clock to her husband on the 35th anniversary of his becoming a union officer (local chairperson, Local 349 at Kansas City, Mo., and now general chairperson, GO 569). I really appreciate everything our wives do for us and our families because of the hours we are away from home.
Joe Nigro, SMART General President