Organizing Wins, Labor Day, and Conference Updates



MTD IN THE NEWS | September 6, 2022

Metal Trades Organizing Victories in the News

After years of trying by our local metal trades council affiliates, who time and again were obstructed by the company from organizing metal trades workers employed by Vigor Industrial at Specialty Finisher Painters in Swan Island, Portland, OR, and Vigor Alaska ship repair yard in Ketchikan, workers will finally enjoy metal trades union representation. 

“The Department salutes Portland Metal Trades President and IUPAT Local 10 Labor Relations Representative Scott Oldham and Puget Sound Metal Trades Council President and SMART Local Union 66 Business Agent Kaley Rhode for leading the way with these impressive organizing wins,” said Metal Trades Department President, Jimmy Hart. 

“Many thanks to the organizers, affiliates, and workers who stood together and declared, ‘UNION YES’ during this summer of the worker!”

“Through hard-nosed and contentious collective bargaining with Vigor Industrial earlier this year, determined negotiators obtained unprecedented wage gains and improved working conditions at these two shipbuilding and repair councils,” said Metal Trades Department General Representative Ben Heurung. “Our local metal trades council affiliates have paved the way for aggressive and determined brothers and sisters at the IUPAT and SMART to bring these new workers into the fold. The department looks forward to working with the councils to help our valued metal trades partners at SMART and IUPAT win the all-important first contract.”

These newly organized workers will add to the count of more than 1000 unionized Vigor shipbuilding and repair workers in Portland, Seattle, Honolulu, and Ketchikan. 

Welcome to the Vigor Industrial Metal Trades Family!

Metal Trades Department Steward Training

Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart and General Representative Dale Troll conducted a Metal Trades Department Steward Training Class for members of the Columbus and Wiregrass Metal Trades Councils and members of UA Local Union 72, at their union headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

The Metal Trades Steward Training Program is designed to prepare members to recognize potential grievances and investigate and represent bargaining unit members in lower-level grievance hearings and investigatory meetings

The workshop and class emphasize the rights and obligations of stewards in resolving workplace issues. Classes are tailored to address the needs of unions and participants. If your local council or affiliated local union needs such training, the department is pleased to facilitate such. If interested please contact Department Operations Director Lisa Johnson by telephone at 202-508-3705 or by email at

Hart Addresses VPPPA Safety+ Symposium

With what has become his trademark declaration, Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart addressed the annual VPPPA Safety+ Symposium in Washington, DC, late last month, stating, “you will find Metal Trades workers on the sea, in the air, and on land… The Metal Trades is everywhere!” 

“On behalf of the leadership of the Department, its 17 international union affiliates, and our local Metal Trades councils, I salute the dedication of workers and employers to Voluntary Protection Plan efforts,” Hart said. 

The VPPPA holds the only national educational event for VPP worksites and its practitioners devoted to achieving and maintaining safety and health excellence.


“The Metal Trades Department and its local councils and affiliates believe in VPPPA, and I am thankful for the opportunity to engage with my fellow attendees to exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and grow professionally,” said Hart.

Metal Trades affiliates and local councils are of the firm belief that no matter your origins, every worker has the same right to a safe and healthy workplace.

President Hart congratulated the newly reelected officials of the VPPPA and the fabled Hanford metal trades worker and contractor community who were recognized and awarded the VPPPA Safety & Health Outreach Award. “Worker contractor relationships at Hanford and within the broader community provide real-time collaboration that results in a safer work environment for Hanford site workers for generations to come.”

President Hart concluded his remarks by noting that “when labor and management work together and embrace one another’s voice and mission, they ensure worker safety becomes a widely practiced, shared, and cherished core value.”

Conference Hotel Block Deadline Rapidly Approaching


MTD In The News — August 2022



MTD IN THE NEWS | August 15, 2022

MTD Logo


The Next Big Shipbuilding Market

Upgrading, renewing, and expanding the Jones Act fleet is the next huge shipbuilding opportunity in the world today. 

It has been more than three decades since America held the number one position in worldwide tonnage production. In the intervening 30 plus years Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and now China have ascended to the top of the worldwide shipbuilding industry, building large fleets of new marine assets for the global economy. Today foreign yards are sold out through 2027.

Now it is time for the United States’ shipyards to shift into high gear to repeat our unmatched WWII producing record of more than 5,000 marine assets in a little over three years. Today, we estimate that we will need over 10,000 new marine assets to fulfill our needs over the next ten years, including hundreds of multipurpose container and offshore wind feeders, cable layers, new barges, thousands of fishing vessels, a fleet of new high-powered tugs to handle the new fleet of VLCVs (Very Large Container Vessels) and the list goes on and on.

A few of the benefits of new modern marine assets:

  • The ability to standardize vessels built in series, lowering construction costs
  • New marine assets operate for less; new technology is simply more efficient
  • Standardized vessels can be and are operated by interchangeable crews, just like airplanes
  • New vessels are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than old technologies
  • New marine assets have lower repair and maintenance costs as standard parts are available
  • New vessels will comply with IMO and new environmental standards
  •  Modern vessels are insurable
  • New vessels can be financed at lower rates in today’s low interest environment
  • New Jones Act assets are subject to ten-year depreciation schedules and are eligible for tax credits
  • And the list goes on and on and on…………………

Meeting our nation’s present and future commercial maritime needs is a Herculean task. We can and we must succeed as renewing and expanding our Jones Act fleets are essential for our nation’s economic and national security future. However, history has taught us over and over again that with every every big idea there are huge opportunities and financial rewards for those willing to take the risk and challenge the status quo.

Supreme Court Building

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Workers’ Compensation Carve Out for Nuclear Workforce;

AG Ferguson Vows Workers will Remain Protected

The U.S. Supreme Court in June said the state of Washington could not in a 2018 law lower the bar for federal contractors who work at a decomissioned nuclear weapons plant to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The decision by the court says the state could not single out the Hanford facility in the law because the federal government had not explicitly waived its typical immunity from discriminatory state laws with respect to workers’ compensation.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has been a champion for workers at Hanford, and was honored by the Metal Trades Department for his work in 2016, said the ruling will have little practical impact because of the recent amendments to the law.

“Hanford workers, and all others working with dangerous radioactive waste, remain protected,” Ferguson said.

MTD, Shipbuilding Partners Issue Whitepaper Calling for Policy Changes to Ease Supply Chain Distribution; Utilize American Green Marine Highway

Metal Trades Department, in collaboration with domestic and international entities recently produced a whitepaper outlining industry and policy changes that will help alleviate the debilitating stress endured by the current supply chain distribution system which will help eliminate congestion in our streets, and revitalizing our coastal and inland waterways and communities.

In the paper, the Metal Trades Department says “our stated goal is to build 200 Jones Act compliant small container (feeders) vessels economically for the American Green Marine Highway by 2030.”

It further calls for utilizing the American Green Marine Highway (AGMH) to transport containers, relieve gridlock, and erect offshore wind farms.

The Department believes its plan will create good-paying union jobs for all segments of the maritime and construction industry in the shipyards, terminals, and ports.

Free College Benefit Provider EGCC Suspended Over Violation of Title IV

We were made aware recently that Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), the school where we have sent many of our Metal Trades union members and their family members since 2016, is being forced to suspend the Free College Program immediately. 


The Department of Education has made the determination that the program violates Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq. (Title IV), which prohibits assessing charges to recipients eligible for Title IV financial assistance that are higher than those charges assessed to non-Title IV recipients and has notified EGCC to cease providing the benefit immediately.  We had no control over this decision and were disappointed to hear it.  EGCC disputes these charges, and you can read their response here:

We are working hard to get answers to all the questions raised by this decision. This decision not only affects our members but every other union that was offering this benefit.

Rest assured, all the unions engaged in this program are exploring every possible angle to find a way to continue some version of Free College for union members.

Puget Sound President Troy Andrews Retires

Puget Sound MTC President Troy Andrews with President Biden during a Shipyard visit

Troy Andrews has served on the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council in one capacity or another for more than a decade. Beginning in 2010 as a delegate, Andrews then became Trustee for the Council from 2015 to 2016 and Vice President from 2017 to 2020. In 2021, Andrews became president. And, on July 1, 2022, Andrews officially retired.


“Troy will be missed,” says Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart. “His hard work and

dedication to the members of Puget Sound Metal Trades Council has enriched the lives of so many. We wish him a long and happy retirement.”


A member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 252, Andrews began his career in 1980.


Since joining the union, Andrews has been active in Local 252 as a business manager and with the Pierce County Building Trades.


SMART Local 66 member Kal Rhode was elected president of the Council replacing Andrews. Steve Miller, IAMAW District Lodge 160, was elected as vice president.

Reminder: Metal Trades Department Annual Conference Registration is Open

Registration is open:
Save the Date: Oct. 31-Nov. 3
On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us at our 2022 Annual Metal Trades Department Conference which will be held October 31-November 3, 2022, at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.
The theme for this year’s Conference is, ‘The Metal Trades: A Salute to Women in Labor’
Although the Conference is still in the planning stages, the Department invites you to plan your trip in order that you may attend all Conference associated functions.
The Department will host its Annual Charity Golf Tournament, to benefit the Guide Dogs of America-Tender Loving Canines on Monday, October 31. Affiliate caucus meetings will take place on Tuesday, November 1. Our meeting agenda, meeting notices, logistics, and sponsorship opportunities are available for download from our registration website at
Confirmed speakers include SEIU President Mary Kay Henry; IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Gay Henson; IAMAW Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes; and ULLICO Life and Health President Stephanie Waylen. The Department expects to add additional confirmed speakers from government, industry, and labor in the coming weeks.

MacLiesh Appointed Single Point of Contact at Vigor

Heather MacLiesh, a journeyman welder/fitter, and member of SMART local 16 has been appointed as the Single Point of Contact at Vigor Industrial. MacLiesh, has been with Vigor for about two years and previously served as the craft steward for Local 16.

Vigor’s Single Point of Contact (SPC) position is the sole individual responsible for receiving and distributing information from Vigor management to its various labor unions. As SPC, MacLiesh acts as the liaison of information on everything from new hires and terminations, disciplinary action, layoffs, personnel changes, pay rate and

classification changes and payroll dues deductions. She then supplies the Council and each individual union the information for their records.

The SPC meets with the company regularly, either electronically or in person, to address any issues of importance. Daily topics of discussion may include corrective action reports, project stand downs, closures due to inclement weather, training needs, or staffing changes.

MacLiesh is also responsible for processing all representational information, scheduling council trainings, archiving copies of company policies, procedures, instructions, MOUs and bargaining information for labor and management.

In her capacity as SPC, MacLiesh also addresses any questions union members may have and working directly with the lead and craft stewards on site to ensure everything is running smoothly for them. She meets with the lead and craft stewards every other week to discuss their issues.

“I love this new position,” says MacLiesh. “It allows me to help my fellow union brothers and sisters by building relationships and opening lines of communication between labor and management.”

MacLiesh says that she is hoping she can maintain a positive work environment for everyone through her work as SPC and looks forward to the challenges this position offers.


The Metal Trades Department Honors our Fallen Military Members this Memorial Day

The Metal Trades Department Honors our Fallen Military Members this Memorial Day

The true meaning of Memorial Day often gets lost to pool parties, beach trips, and backyard barbeques. But Memorial Day is in fact a day of remembrance. A day to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died in service to the United States military.

As we watch our allies in Ukraine battle to save their democracy, it reminds me of something former Secretary of State Madeline Albright once said, “while democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile.”

Democracy is precious and freedom is precarious. The men and women of our military fight every day to preserve the American way of life. Their sacrifices deserve our honor and respect every day. But on this day, it is most important that we remember the fallen soldiers. That we honor their sacrifices and strive to build an America that our service members can be proud to represent.

Within the labor movement, we have the opportunity to contribute to a better America every day by organizing, supporting, and representing each other. The labor movement, in particular those represented within the Metal Trades, are the bulwark of democracy and the stronger we are, the stronger America is. The Metal Trades and its partners and allies will always defend democracy, your rights at work, and your freedom in society.

On behalf of the Metal Trades Department staff, executive council, and members, I wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. I invite you to take time to remember those who lost their lives so that we are free to live ours. I hope you all stay safe and healthy. God bless you. God bless our fallen soldiers and God bless America.


Statement from President Hart on the Uvalde, TX Mass Shooting Yesterday

My sadness today is palpable. I cannot imagine what the families in Uvalde, Texas, are going through. The Metal Trades Department and its affiliated international unions, along with all of our labor allies and partners, are devastated by the loss of 19 children and two teachers to such a senseless act of violence.

The community of Uvalde and Robb Elementary School are in our prayers. But beyond praying, we need action. Congress must address the underlying, uniquely American issues that continue to allow these horrific mass shootings to occur.

The Senate has, within its power, the ability to act swiftly. Still, the reality is that the U.S. Congress has proven over and over that it is unwilling or unable to pass substantial federal legislation to curb gun violence.

America’s children and working families deserve better. We urge Congress to find a path forward and pass legislation to address gun violence.

MTC Representation Activities / Updated Covid-19 Regulations

TO: All Metal Trades Council Presidents

FROM:  James Hart, President Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO

DATE: May 19, 2022

RE: MTC Representation Activities / Updated Covid-19 Regulations

Dear Metal Trades Council President:

COVID 19 regulations have been relaxed in most areas throughout the United States and Canada. However, all Metal Trades Council leaders must remain diligent and aware of the dangers associated with the infection and strive to protect our affiliates and their members from contamination both in the workplace and when conducting organized council activities.

The Department recognizes that most council by-laws mandate delegate meetings are conducted live and under one roof. These assemblies are crucial to keeping affiliates and bargaining unit members informed, especially at a time when council leaders are engaged in collective bargaining and working hard to protect workers from employers and legislators who look to take advantage of them during a time of decreased public access.

There is no doubt that Zoom and multiple other videoconferencing applications are here to stay. Neither their effectiveness nor use should be degraded or minimalized by council officers as this platform provides both a time-saving and cost-effective forum that benefits council affiliates and bargaining unit members through heightened representational access. However, live meetings are without a doubt more compelling and exciting. Videoconferencing cannot replace the crucial function of such gatherings.

Accordingly, the Department encourages any local council not doing so to reinstate all in-person council representation activities in an orderly, safe, and productive manner. Should a council choose (without valid reason) not to comply with this request, they may be subject to charges from affiliates and bargaining unit members of violation of Taft Hartley and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

However, in doing so, council officers are urged to consider the implementation of the following guidelines:

1. Strictly abide by all federal, state and local COVID 19 rules and regulations governing public assembly.

a. In the absence of government or institutional prohibitions regarding COVID 19, council officers should adopt common-sense safety measures and enforce them. All safety measures need to be adequately communicated to attendees prior to the meeting.

2. Limit the service of refreshments. By eliminating refreshments, council officers eliminate a common gathering spot where germs can be easily spread.

3. Consider hosting meetings in larger spaces to provide for socially distant meetings.

4. Clean thoroughly before and after meetings.

5. Encourage hand washing and sanitizing throughout the assembly.

6. Host hybrid meetings to accommodate those who state that they feel uncomfortable attending in person.

Should you have any questions regarding this important request, please feel free to contact your respective Department General Representative at your convenience.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

5.19.22 COVID 19 Representation Guideline to MTC Presidents

Ohio Marine Highway Jobs Rally Kicks Off Coast-to-Coast Tour to Rebuild America’s Maritime Industry



MTD IN THE NEWS | May 9, 2022

Ohio Marine Highway Jobs Rally Kicks Off Coast-to-Coast Tour to Rebuild America’s Maritime Industry

 President Hart opened the rally with a call to action to build 200 ships across the next three years, rebuild the marine highway, and create hundreds of thousands of new union jobs. Watch the Live Stream of the event on our website.

On May 2, kicking off what he calls “a coast-to-coast tour to rebuild America’s Maritime Highway,” Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart — joined by leaders of the Ohio AFL-CIO and Ohio Building Trades — hosted a rally calling for the creation of good-paying jobs that would enhance U.S. national security, alleviate the supply chain crises, and bring long-overdue economic relief to cities and villages like Lorain and Lordstown, Ohio. In his remarks, Hart urged the redevelopment and expansion of the marine highway throughout our country’s inland and coastal waterways to accomplish these goals.

The rally was held to encourage the United States Navy, the White House, and elected officials to embrace the Bartlett Maritime Plan. The plan will bring up to 2-3 thousand construction jobs and 4,000 permanent metal trades manufacturing and production jobs to Lorain and Lordstown. “There is a rebirth happening in Lorain,” said Hart. “It will not be completed until we create tens of thousands of jobs across the country.”

The Bartlett Maritime Plan includes the proposal of building a submarine service facility in Lorain and a component repair facility in Lordstown that will aid the U.S. Navy’s submarines. 

Hart told rally goers that they plan to build 200 ships across the next three years. The goals of the project also include re-building the marine highway and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. 


“Union workers built this country and strengthened our national security. Ohioans in Lorain, Lordstown, and across the state are ready now to do our part by expanding and improving our Naval shipyard performance,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. “Strategic investments in the Marine Highway are crucial to the Navy’s efficiencies, and readiness, and workers in Ohio and the Great Lakes region have what it takes to advance this mission,” Burga said.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Representative Tim Ryan, and Representative Marcy Kaptur took to the podium to express their support of the project and for working families in Ohio.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

“Ohio workers have the talent and the skills to ensure we have a modern Navy, stronger than any in the world,” said Brown. “They just need leaders who actually make them a priority. I’m going to keep working with Tim and Marcy and with Ohio workers and companies to press for military investment in Ohio – and for all investments that have the potential to create Ohio jobs.”


Representative Marcy Kaptur


Representative Tim Ryan

Congressman Ryan expressed the importance of bringing back shipping jobs to Ohio.

“There are no workforces better equipped than Lordstown and Lorain to carry out the needs of our nation’s submarine fleet,” said Congressman Ryan. “Time after time, Ohio workers have showed up to answer our nation’s greatest challenges. Now it’s time our government shows up for Ohio workers. I will continue to fight like hell to create these good-paying jobs in Ohio and give every working Ohioan economic freedom and a fair shot at the American Dream.”

The proposal plans to build upon Ohio’s previous history of supporting the U.S. Navy. 

“Ohio has always been home to key elements of America’s naval industrial base,” said Captain Edward Bartlett, USMM, and founder of Bartlett Maritime Corporation. “Every nuclear-powered ship in the U.S. Navy, for instance, features unique components and equipment that were designed and built in Ohio. The Bartlett Maritime Plan builds on Ohio’s long heritage of support for the U.S. Navy and leverages the state’s abundant resources and world-class union workforce to help the Navy address the national security challenges associated with both nuclear-powered ship maintenance and submarine construction.” 

Other attendees included leaders and workers from area unions, as well as representatives from Bartlett Maritime Corporation. Many elected officials and individuals running for office also showed their support.

The project also aims to make an impact in response to the current international problems happening in other countries.

“The AFL-CIO Maritime Highway & National Supply Chain Resurgence Initiative is a major element and dramatic response to the international challenges from Russia and China to our national security,” said Rear Admiral Robert Frick, USN (Ret). “The efforts and progress made to restore and rebuild America and renew our national shipping, roads and bridges is directly linked to the incorporation and ever-increasing reliance on the coastal and inland maritime highways.”

In March, Bartlett told 3News Ohio television, that they hope for a ceremonial groundbreaking for both facilities in October and for construction to start at both locations in early spring 2023. Bartlett believes the Lordstown depot would be completed within two years and the Lorain shipyard in 3-4 years.

“America is at an inflection point and it is almost impossible to overstate how important this point in time really is,” said Hart. “Our country must decide at this moment how we will manage our economic, national security and climate goals. It is time for tested, national leadership to step up and I’m here to let America know that a defining moment in American history begins here today in Lorain, Ohio.” 

Hart told exuberant rally goers that Metal Trades Maritime unions have a plan to build 200 or more Jones Act feeder vessels, tugs, and barges, that will create hundreds of thousands of maritime and related supply chain jobs needed to facilitate the building of the offshore wind industry, solve the debilitating supply chain crises, and rebuild the American merchant marine fleet over the next 3-5 years, thereby restoring the United States to prominence as a premier sea power.

Watch the Live Stream of the event on our website.