By John Previsich,
SMART Transportation Division President –
2014 is shaping up to be a remarkable year in the history of our union. The SMART constitution is now finalized and we are moving forward with the ongoing effort to merge our two organizations into one.
For those who have not yet viewed the arbitration decision or the new SMART Constitution, they can be found on the Transportation Division’s website at www.utu.org by selecting merger under the Updates tab, or on the SMART website at www.smart-union.org by using the search term “constitution.”
In addition to the integration, a number of other issues will demand our attention throughout the year. To begin, we will have two conventions this year – one for the SMART Transportation Division (formerly UTU) from June 30 – July 2, 2014 and another for the SMART organization from Aug. 11 – 15, 2014.
As advised in my Jan. 24 letter to all SMART TD officers, general chairpersons, state legislative boards and local unions, proposed amendments to the SMART Constitution’s Article 21B may be submitted by any subordinate body of the Transportation Division no later than March 2, 2014.
Both conventions are equally important. Delegates at the Transportation Division convention will elect officers to serve the Division in the upcoming term starting Oct. 1, 2014. In addition, delegates will debate constitutional amendments that are submitted to the Transportation Division for consideration and will make recommendations on whether such amendments should be adopted or rejected by the delegates to the SMART convention.
Delegates to the Transportation Division convention are also delegates to the SMART convention and it is very important that our delegates attend both conventions to convey the wishes of their members to the governing body. If your local does not have a duly elected delegate and alternate delegate in place at this time, your local president or secretary should contact my office immediately at (216) 228-9400.
The Transportation Division staff stands ready to assist your local in ensuring your delegate or alternate will be seated at these conventions. In addition, Transportation Division locals may be entitled to have more than one delegate attend the SMART convention in August. Details on how to determine the number of delegates to which your local may be entitled and procedures for electing additional delegates will be published soon.
Another item of business in the coming year is the commencement of negotiations for a national rail contract. We will soon begin the process of formulating the Section 6 notices to be served on the carriers.
The process starts with input from our members in the field on what is important for a new contract, and that input is essential to the preparation of Section 6 notices that reflect the needs and desires of our membership.
Other issues of interest are implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the many health care plans that cover our members, mid-term congressional elections, our organizing efforts that have produced great results in both our short line and bus departments and our continued legislative success in fending off attacks on Railroad Retirement and Amtrak.
Overall, we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead and to the successes that we will continue to achieve on behalf of our members.