In addition to the wide variety of educational sessions, annual business meeting and social functions, SMACNA’s 60th annual convention in Washington, D.C. provided many SMACNA members the opportunity to visit their U.S. Senators and Representatives.
Members from a dozen chapters found time to go on Capitol Hill to reinforce the union construction industry’s position on such issues as pension funding relief, infrastructure spending to boost the economy, permanent estate tax relief for small business and unfair competition by utilities.
Opening session speaker Newt Gingrich traced the history of change and transformation from Benjamin Franklin’s era and concluded with a prediction of how technology will change health care and the U.S.’s defense efforts during the next 10 years.
Senators Mary Landrieu and Evan Bayh spoke at the group lunch on Monday. Sen. Landrieu was enthusiastic about a new democratic pro-business coalition in the Senate that is encouraging management to reach out and work with their labor partners. She noted that SMACNA and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association were excellent examples how good things happen when labor and management work together.
Very recently, Sen. Bayh’s legislative staff and SMACNA’s legislative staff worked on a bill to help multiemployer pension plans survive the most dramatic stock market decline since World War II. Sen. Bayh introduced a Senate bill which would provide relief to plans at no cost to the government. Although the provisions of his bill are not likely to be included in the latest Senate pension bill, Sen. Bayh will continue to keep this issue on the table.
First place winners of SMACNA’s 2003 safety awards were recognized for their outstanding safety records. Improving on last year’s safety results, more than one-third of SMACNA Contractors reported zero lost workdays during the 2002 calendar year.
This year’s table top Product Show proved to have the largest number of exhibitors in the past 10 years. Close to 50 industry suppliers were on hand to discuss the latest innovations with SMACNA members.
At the annual business meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 1, five members were elected to the Board of Directors.
In keeping with SMACNA’s tradition of recognizing a charity in the convention host city, President Desmond presented $5,000 to the Capitol Hill Children’s Baseball/Softball League (CHBSL) Scholarship Fund so less fortunate children may experience the benefits of participating in a team sport.
During the president’s lunch, also on Wednesday, Mark Watson was installed as the new SMACNA president. Jack Desmond, now immediate past president, received his president’s pin, plaque and gift in appreciation for his service.
SMACNA’s 61st annual convention is scheduled for Maui, Hawaii at the Grand Wailea Resort, Oct. 24-28, 2004. Mark your calendar now!