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AFT President Randi Weingarten Honors Newtown

Washington—AFT President Randi Weingarten honors Newtown, Conn., on the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The AFT represents the educators and school staff in Newtown.

“The pain and tragedy of what happened last year on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School will never be forgotten. But in that tragedy, we saw angels—educators who dedicated their lives to helping our children reach for the stars—give their lives in the service of our children.

“Our instinct as educators and school staff is to love and protect our children. We saw that on last Dec. 14. We know these stories by heart: The teacher who sheltered her students in a closet with only her body and a thin door between them and the shooter. The teacher who led her kids into a bathroom where many were able to escape the danger. The custodian who risked his life trying to keep ahead of the gunman, rushing through the halls to make sure all the classroom doors were locked. The teachers who tried to hide their children any place they could until the police came.

“It’s what I witnessed when I met with educators following the massacre—in this incredible moment of grief, these educators were worried first about how they would be able to create a sense of normalcy and support for their students. And it’s what I saw when I visited every Newtown school when they reopened, where the priority of teachers was to ensure their classrooms were safe, nurturing environments so their children could get back to learning. It was their collective strength and love, matched with the support of parents and the community, that pieced together shattered hearts, healed souls and helped overcome the horror of that day.

“Today we remember the 26 children and educators we lost, and we must recommit ourselves to ensure that every school is a safe sanctuary for our children. Today we honor Newtown and choose love.”

Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Celebrate 125th Anniversary

SMART Union Logo

Washington, DC – In recognition of its 125th anniversary on January 25, 2013, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) launched a year-long program commemorating SMART Expertise Since 1888.  Beginning today, Union members will be a part of that history by uploading their worksite photos to a new anniversary website at www.smart125.com that showcases the expertise Union members have brought to the construction, production, transportation and service industries.

“This organization has stood the test of time, through good times and bad,” says SMART General President Joseph Nigro.  “It is a testament to the character, skill and solidarity of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served as the backbone of this organization since its founding.  I am proud to serve them and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence they built.”

SMART local unions will open up their Joint Apprenticeship Training Centers (JATC) across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to industry stakeholders, engineers, architects, political leaders, and the general public in events to be held throughout the year to develop a greater awareness of the training and opportunities offered in our industry.

SMART will also institute an awards program to recognize Sheet Metal and Transportation Locals that have advanced SMART expertise through the quality of their work, their labor relations practices, and commitment to the labor movement.  In addition, an updated history of SMART, written by historian Grace Palladino, editor of the Samuel Gompers papers, will document the past 30 years of union leadership, adding to an earlier history compiled in 1980.  The history will be available in the union’s bi-monthly magazine, The Members’ Journal and the SMART125.com website.

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) is one of the most innovative and progressive unions of construction workers, and one of the most significant unions representing sheet metal, railroad, airline, transit, shipyard and production employees in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  The 200,000 highly trained men and women who constitute the membership of SMART are united through collective bargaining agreements providing some of the best pay, benefits and opportunities in the industries where we work.

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