During the recent Labor Forum at SMACNA’s 74th Annual Convention in Maui, SMART General President Joseph Sellers updated contractors on the pension fund, the SMART Heroes program, workforce development, millennials, the new SMART Capital program, and women in the trades.
Hours are moving up, Mr. Sellers said, and are continuing to move in the right direction, but we can’t control the market. “It is our responsibility to capture as many hours as we can. Growth for SMART is paramount,” he added.
SMART is also continuing to focus on women in the trades, examining wage parity, hours, and overtime opportunities, along with how to recruit and retain women. To that end, approximately 130 SMART tradeswomen attended the Women Build Nations Conference in Chicago, Ill., this year.
The Partners in Progress Conference will emphasize the future, he said. “How do we evolve? How are we going to continue to have more sheet metal workers, so we create that growth pattern? We need to create an innovative solution.”
Best practices contribute to market expansion
Labor Forum attendees also heard from SMACNA’s Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force Management Co-Chair Nathan Dills. He explained the task force’s goal is to identify, promote, and communicate local industry best practices that create a cooperative environment where local labor and management can collaborate to grow market share to increase work opportunities and memberships.
He noted that task force expertise resources are available for local chapters. They include professionally-designed advertisements that can be customized for local use, best practices “how-to” guides, a 2,000-image library of industry photos, and press releases promoting industry activities.
In addition, the task force supports local labor/management partnership pilot programs designed to assist local parties in jointly identifying problems and creating solutions to better serve customers, gain market share, and increase job security. A $25,000 budget is available for these initiatives and funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For questions about these resources or how to apply for a grant, contact SMACNA Director of Labor Relations Jason Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org / (703) 803-2981).