MTD 2022 Leadership Summit Brings Together Industry and Labor Partners



MTD IN THE NEWS | March 9, 2022

2022 Leadership Summit Brings Together Industry and Labor Partners

“You can find the Metal Trades on the sea, in the air, and on the ground…the Metal Trades are everywhere!”

And with that call to action, President Hart called the Metal Trades Annual Leadership Summit to order telling attendees that “organized labor and the metal trades may, at times get knocked down but we always get back up again. And nothing can ever keep us down.”

Opening the Summit, Hart laid out the agenda for the two-days, which took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, telling participants that both the science and reality of COVID have dictated that it is time to reestablish personal contact between all segments of the Metal Trades Industry.

Hart reiterated that despite the long and arduous hiatus imposed upon American life by this dreadful killer infection and its variants, the Metal Trades Department, its affiliates, and Councils have plowed through their work in a consistently safe manner and achieved astounding results.

Our work has included negotiating fair contracts, winning strikes, and leading the way politically in overturning harmful Trump-era Executive Orders. The MTD has worked towards developing and expanding the Maritime Highway to alleviate the nation’s distribution crises. And we are on the verge of bringing to life what will essentially become the United States Navy 5th Naval Repair Shipyard and depot in Lorain and Lordstown, Ohio. This public-private partnership between business, government, and labor will develop up to 5000 good-paying union construction and metal trades jobs to these two areas on the great lakes. Locations that have never fully recovered after experiencing devastating economic losses dictated by the global economy.

Mike Petters, President and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries joined the Summit via Zoom and discussed his philosophy on creating labor-management partnerships that work.

Petters told the audience, the four points that he believes every worker wants:

  • First, clear expectations. The worker wants to know what you want them to do.
  • Second, employees want and need feedback. They need to know how they are doing.
  • Third, both the employer and employee should ask: ‘can I do this better?’
  • And finally, the employee has a right to know that the employer will treat them fairly.

“When you take all of those points into consideration, what you will see is an employer expecting engagement from the workforce and an expectation that management will work with the employees.”

IAMAW General President Bob Martinez discussed the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act and his union’s efforts to ensure that IAM-built, and Metal Trades built programs were included in the legislation.

“This act will go a long way to ensuring our members and their families have a stable future. The legislation will also provide much-needed wage increases for our military men and women while expanding their healthcare benefits, parental leave, and in-home child care.”

Newly elected International Chemical Workers Union General President, Lance Heasley introduced himself to the attendees. Heasley talked about his leadership style and his unique rise to take the helm at the union.

Raised in a union family in a heavily unionized community he knew the importance of union membership. When he had the opportunity to join the union he took it. Heasley later joined the staff at the International as an organizer.

“I never held office at the International prior to becoming President,” said Heasley. “Why would they nominate and elect me to hold office? They did it because I had successfully organized 26 NLRB elections in six years.”

His prolific organizing became “like an addiction.”

Heasley said one of his goals is to educate his membership and union members in general. “We don’t do a good enough job of telling our membership what we’ve done. We should be pounding our chest and taking credit for our wins.”

He also advocated for working together more across the labor movement for the good of all working families.

Ken Rueter, President and CEO of UCOR presented ‘Leading through Change and Challenges’.

Rueter discussed how the Metal Trades partnership with UCOR has created extraordinary and unprecedented outcomes. “We have seen a 40 percent increase in Metal Trades jobs in Oakridge. We have secured a new 15 years contract with the DOE. And we have created an atmosphere where everyone wins.”

Calling it ‘shared governance,’ Rueter says the partnership with MTD and the Atomic Trades Council has increased safety and quality, enhanced communication, empowered the workforce and increased job satisfaction.

Captain Ed Bartlett introduced the Bartlett Maritime Plan to create the 5th Naval Repair Shipyard under a public-private partnership in Ohio.

Bartlett discussed his vision for the new shipyard and his history of labor relationships. The Metal Trades Department and Bartlett Maritime have signed a cooperation agreement to help facilitate the plan.

Stressing that his plan “is about collaboration not competition” Bartlett assured attendees and presenters that they want to complement the existing work and not take anything away from current yards.

VADM Galinis, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command talked about the state of the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding.

“It is an amazing scope of work and we can’t do it without the trades,” said Galinis.

Galinis specifically pointed out the immense amount of work being done at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Further he discussed the long range plans for infrastructure and advancement at the Navy’s four shipyards.

Closing out the day, the Guide Dogs of America-Tender Loving Canines, the MTD charity of choice, spoke to attendees about the work that they do for the blind and visually impaired and how they now provide service dogs for veterans and children with autism. Russ Gittlen, joined by one of the GDA-TLC breeder pups, Bailey, shared updates on the organizations campus renovations and expansion of services that have taken place since we were last able to hear from them, pre-COVID.

Breakout Workshops Focus on Administration and Federal Wage Survey Preparations

On Tuesday, attendees were broken out into federal and private council workshops. The federal councils discussed the upcoming federal wage survey and created a Prevailing Wage Task Force. Working with MTD General Counsel Keith Bolek, and sharing their research and experiences, the federal workshop attendees created a plan and set forth an agenda for moving forward.

Members from our private sector councils spent the day reviewing administrative duties and responsibilities for council officers. Bolek also addressed the workgroup, covering their legal obligations as union officers. Key International Union representatives Tom Fischbach, SMART; Paul Oconnor, IBEW; and Craig Norman, IAMAW, gave presentations on grievance and arbitration handling, Strengthening the Civil Service Reform Act, and building a strong and diverse union.

Metal Trades Department & Federation Partners Leading the Way with New Maritime Highway Coalition



MTD IN THE NEWS | January 24, 2022

“Simply stated, the United States is a maritime nation. Our nation is blessed with the American Marine Highway, the world’s greatest navigable water and port system, America missed the Container Revolution, which is now the global transport platform of choice. Future shipping volumes will grow and we are not prepared… today we are paying the price.”

— Jimmy Hart, Metal Trades Department President

Metal Trades Department & Federation Partners Leading the Way with New Maritime Highway Coalition

Distribution problems plague America.


Some will tell you that the core problem with American health care isn’t a lack of innovation but a lack of equitable distribution.


Others will tell you there’s a problem with wealth distribution between the top 50 Americans and the poorest 165 million Americans


And then there are those who wax poetic about distribution problems within the government, the drug and farm industry, and even our families!


Alas, these are all weighty issues that this newsletter will leave to others to solve.

However, there is one distribution problem that the Metal Trades Department and its partners in the Maritime Industry can and know how to solve: America’s supply and distribution dilemma.


That is why the Metal Trades Department is leading the way with its maritime allies to form the Maritime Highway Coalition, whose sole intent and purpose is to get the Maritime Highway up and running to alleviate our nations supply distribution problems threatening the recovery of our economy, its supply chain, local businesses, and welfare and future prospects of our families and communities.

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, in conjunction with the officers and members of our federations maritime unions and departments, have joined hands with the industry to form a working task force whose sole mission is to accomplish the task of utilizing America’s coastal waters and rivers to alleviate the embarrassing distribution crises that has opened the nation’s eyes to the inadequacies of our nation’s supply chain infrastructure and untenable maritime policies that have opened the door to breakdown and failure in meeting the needs of American businesses and consumers.

Simply stated, the United States is a maritime nation. Our nation is blessed with the American Marine Highway, the world’s greatest navigable water and port system. The American Marine Highway has dictated the pattern of the nation’s development since its inception and was the thoroughfare of choice for trade until the end of the 20th century. Every one of our country’s original cities was founded on water. How is it that a nation that knows how to build ships, 2,710 Liberty ships built during WW II in only four years, refuses to acknowledge the efficiency that a fully utilized maritime highway can provide a nation struggling to meet the shipping requirements of its supply chain, businesses, and consumers?


The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, its affiliates, and skilled shipbuilding workforce is committed to working with our maritime and industry partners towards a goal of building and operating a Jones Act fleet of 200 new, fuel-efficient, and environmentally friendly feeder vessels for the American Marine Highway that will forever relieve container port congestion and gridlock, knowing that in doing so America will never again experience a catastrophic supply chain crisis of 2021.


With the advent and use of the Maritime Highway, our nation’s infrastructure will no longer be void of what has become the Forgotten Transportation Mode of Shipping. The coalition envisions, and our nation requires, that the maritime industry come together with the business community to alleviate images of fleets of large container ships at anchor waiting to be unloaded, terminals at capacity, stressed customs clearing functions, and truck driver shortages that define just how fragile our supply chains are.


These interruptions have jeopardized on-time inventory systems, manufacturers’ reliance on parts sourced from overseas, the delivery of consumer goods that Americans count on, and much more.

Further, these delays not only affect our economy, but they also distress our foreign trading partners. In short, as the largest consumer economy globally, what happens in the United States affects the interconnected global economy.


Only time will tell what the long-term damage will be as we begin our endeavor to alleviate the distribution ills of a great maritime nation. Seemingly there are no quick fixes. All the much-needed improvements at the ports and transportation infrastructure will take time, but money exists in the new infrastructure bill to do so. Unfortunately, America missed the Container Revolution, which is now the global transport platform of choice, with 70% of all manufactured goods being moved in containers. Future volumes will grow. We were not prepared, and today we are paying the price.


How does the world move containers? First, most countries use three modes of transportation to move containers – road, rail, and water — based on a hub and spoke system. The crucibles of the container business are reliability and frequency. Large ships discharge loads at modern container ports. From there, containers are distributed either by road, rail, or water, whichever makes sense and is the most efficient, economical, and environmentally sensitive. If rail or water are chosen to distribute from hub ports, trucks deliver the containers from the spoke ports and railhead depots to the final destination. Trucks are always the first mile or last mile facilitators.


Today up to 40% of all containers are distributed from hub to spoke ports by small purpose-built short sea container vessels. In fact, there are more than 3,000 small, environmentally sensitive short sea container vessels in use worldwide. We liken these small vessels to local Fed Ex or Amazon delivery trucks.


Regrettably, we have none of these small container vessels in the United States.


There is a silver lining in the present debacle, and that is to highlight and rediscover the significant value of our American Marine Highway with its twenty-five thousand miles of navigable water and an existing port network. The American Marine Highway costs nothing to build and little to maintain. There are no traffic lights, bridges, or potholes on the American Marine Highway. Water dictated the pattern of the country’s development and is the underutilized safety valve that will add its unlimited transportation distribution capacity to our failing and at limit landside transport systems.

Importantly, water is the most environmentally sensitive means of transport in the world.


To mirror the world’s systems of moving containers from our hub ports to our numerous existing spoke ports, we must build small purpose-built container vessels. These vessels will become the trucks of the American Marine Highway with our existing regional (smaller) ports as the on and off-ramps. Our industry partners are confident that we can accomplish the task of building a fleet of environmentally sensitive fuel-efficient vessels in our regional shipyards, just like we did during WWII with our Liberty Ships. This effort will create thousands of jobs in our regional commercial shipyards.


Summing up, the container is here to stay, and so are America’s waterways. Inevitably volumes will grow to meet the demands of growing economies and populations. Our challenge is to adopt the container distribution systems that have been developed worldwide. We have the American Marine Highway.


Now we have to use it!



71st Metal Trades Department Convention Round Up — The Challenges of a Virtual Convention



MTD IN THE NEWS | November 1, 2021


71st Metal Trades Department Convention Round Up — The Challenges of a Virtual Convention


We get knocked down,
we get up again

You are never gonna keep us down
get knocked down, but we get up again
You are never gonna keep us down…


We all seek a silver lining in the face of adversity or tragedy such as the hardship and inconvenience imposed upon us all by COVID-19

With that in mind the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO proceeded to plan its 71st Convention in a manner that safeguarded the health of its delegates, officers, staff and guests

What better way to comply with all the restrictions, health and safety concerns enacted upon us than by producing a live virtual convention?

Imagine, an online convention providing us all with the ultimate platform to share information, spark discussions, host engaging sessions, and facilitate networking for the metal trades universe!


Despite the best laid plans in addition to the creation of a state of the art virtual event platform, amid the yeoman’s work performed by our dedicated Metal Trades Department officers, staff and vendors, October 13, 2021, was not to be our best technical day, but rather one that threatened to drive mere mortals with super human abilities to succumb to the confusion, aggravation and hopelessness when confronted with what we were assured was a near perfect technology.

But the Department, its officers, delegates and guests survived and thrived throughout what was surely a disconcerting remote virtual ordeal to deal with the compulsory and significant Metal Trades Department business of the day!

And What a Day it Was!

Our delegates and guests were treated to a day of formal activities and ceremonies from an interesting array of Speakers


Keynote Speaker AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler

After a video welcome from female Metal Trades Council leadership, Ms. Shuler spoke to the delegates and guests about how the labor movement has stepped up during “the worst ever public health crisis.”

Ms. Schuler said, “it is because working people have stepped up. And your members have stepped up. And because of that,
we in the labor movement are at a tipping point, this is our moment, this is our chance to put power on the side of working people by building a bold, modern, dynamic and inclusive labor movement.”

See President Shuler’s full remarks >


Steven Schrippa

Actor, producer, and author Steven Schrippa sent kind words for a successful Convention to his high school friend, Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart. See Steven Schrippa’s Welcome >

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer welcomed delegates and guests to the Convention.

In his remarks he discussed the need to pass the PRO Act and enact President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. See Senator Schumer’s address >


Heisman Winner Gino Toretta


Gino Toretta, former Heisman Trophy winner and professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League for five seasons, spoke to delegates and guests at the October 13, 2021, virtual Convention about his union roots and why working union makes a difference.

See Gino Toretta’s remarks >

Praising the work of the Metal Trades, Toretta said, “your history reads much like our times today, workers were tired of corporate dominance over our government. workers saw strength in numbers and then they formed unions, and just think, that was when the pay gap between the workers and the CEO wasn’t near what it is today. Now that corporate domination comes in the form of political contributions and their influence on our elected officials. Hopefully President Biden and Marty Walsh can really accomplish protecting workers.”


Executive Council Members Martinez and Jones


IAM&AW General President Bob Martinez, who joined the Convention from the Machinists’ headquarters in Upper Marlboro,Md., gave a special thank you to MTD essential workers who have kept our country running since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

General President Martinez also lauded President Hart saying he is “excited about the future of the Metal Trades Department” under his leadership.


International Brotherhood of Boilermakers General President Newton Jones thanked President Hart and all of the Metal Trades for their leadership and accomplishments over the last five years. Speaking specifically to President Hart about the reopening of the Philly Shipyard, General President Jones acknowledged Hart’s contributions there as a “master stroke.”

General President Jones continued “your relationships with the military are extremely important, particularly with the Navy and shipbuilding in the Metal Trades Department.”

Closing, Jones said “I look forward to your unimpeded leadership. We have some of the finest workers in the world that make up both our union and the Metal Trades.”


Convention Business

While much of the day was consumed with Convention business, delegates and guests did take a moment to pay tribute to members of our Executive Council and affiliated union Presidents who retired over the past several years. Recent retirements included IUPAT General President Ken Rigmaiden, Metal Trades Department affiliate IFPTE President Paul Shearon, and Insulators Union General President James “Bud” McCourt. We wish them well in their retirement.

Sadly, we also paid tribute to several great labor leaders who passed away too soon including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, past Metal Trades Department Presidents John Meese and Paul Burnsky, Sheet Metal General President Joe Nigro, IBEW General President Ed Hill, and IUOE General President Vincent Giblin.


Committee Reports, Resolutions and Constitutional Changes

Powering through several technical difficulties throughout the day, President Hart was able to recognize our management partners from the Philly Shipyard and UCOR before tackling the Constitutional duties of the Convention. Sharing a video that aired on PBS highlighting the labor-management partnership at UCOR, President Hart praised how well the two entities work together to train the workforce and accomplish UCOR’s mission.

Philly Shipyard CEO Steinar Nerbovik also sent a video message to President Hart and Convention delegates in which the more than 700 workers joined management in greeting the Convention. Delegates from the Philly delegation surprised President Hart when they nominated him for reelection. All members of the Executive Council were elected by acclimation.

Video from the first half of the day can be seen here >

The Department thanks all speakers, delegates and guests. We would also like to offer a special thank you to our Committee members for their hard work and diligence in helping complete the business of the Convention. We look forward to seeing you all in person, soon.

Despite the imperfections and challenges Metal Trades folks may get knocked down, but they get up again….

All in all, it was great day. An historic Convention, held at the Mecca and worker refuge of Organized Labor — AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The business of Metal Trades was completed and the Convention was attended to by a diverse group of delegates from throughout the United States and Canada.

After the Convention, President Hart said, “we are, a department well equipped, with a renewed vision and diverse experienced councils, ready to confront the political, legislative and representational challenges of the next five years and beyond.”






President Hart Spoke at the VPPPA’s Safety+ Symposium

Recap: During the Opening General Session at VPPPA’s Safety+ Symposium in Nashville, James (Jimmy) Hart, President of the Metal Trades Department AFL-CIO, called attention to the impact and influence employees have on making safety in the workplace matter.
“Your success spells out worker success,” Hart told VPPPA attendees. “You have the power, wisdom, message, and means to not only teach but to make people listen.”
As Hart’s address came to a close, he stressed the importance for those in attendance to absorb the knowledge in each of their workshops. “Take that education, and the time you spend here, back home. Speak out loud, speak out strong – safety matters.”