Labor-Environmental Partnership Expands with Addition of Two Unions

Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union and United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians (UA) Rejoin BlueGreen Alliance

July 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC. (July 23, 2012) The Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union (SMART) and the United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians (UA) today announced they have rejoined the BlueGreen Alliance — a nationwide partnership of unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Both had been partners in the BlueGreen Alliance previously and had remained strong allies after their departure.

“We’re happy that both SMART and the UA have officially rejoined our ranks,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “To ensure that we make America more energy and water efficient, we need well-trained workers. Both SMART and UA are committed to greening our country — saving energy and water — and their workers are on the forefront of that effort.”

The UA’s Green Initiative is a top priority for the union. UA members perform a large majority of the work involved in green building projects, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, fire protection and water systems.

This initiative applies core skills of UA workers to make buildings sustainable and energy efficient.    This work is performed under architectural and engineering guidelines provided by the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED rating system in areas such as Storm Water, Design, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

To ensure workers have the hands-on skills and become “knowledge workers,” the UA union provides industry leading skilled green trades training with certifications to their members.

“The UA has been and will continue to be leaders in making American homes and businesses more sustainable and energy efficient,” said UA General President William P. Hite.  “We believe that our commitment to this initiative does not stop once a building has been built or renovated, but throughout the entire life cycle of the building and we are ensuring that our workers have the training to complete this. To compete with the rest of the world, America must become more efficient. Our members are on the front lines of this movement and our participation in the BlueGreen Alliance is crucial to our success.”

Late last year, the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) completed a merger with the United Transportation Union (UTU) to become SMART, representing 275,000 workers in sheet metal, air, rail and transportation industries.

“SMART is a natural fit for the BlueGreen Alliance and our membership is passionate about creating and sustaining an economy with good jobs that are good for the environment,” said SMWIA General President Joseph Nigro. “Whether they are constructing rail cars, making buildings more efficient, or ensuring people and goods get to their destinations safely and efficiency through rail and transit, the members of SMART are working right now to make America’s economy and environment stronger.”

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ABOUT SMART: The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) merged with the United Transportation Union (UTU) to become SMART. The UTU brings to SMART proven accomplishments before the National Mediation Board and in dealing with the Railway Labor Act, rail safety and state legislative issues. The SMWIA brings to SMART expert knowledge related to organizing, and extensive training resources and facilities nationwide. Combined as SMART, they create a large and powerful voice within the AFL-CIO and in advancing legislative objectives in Congress and state legislatures. Visit www.UTU.org and www.SMWIA.org.

ABOUT THE UA: The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada or “UA” as it is commonly known is a multi-craft union whose members are engaged in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems. There are approximately 340,000 highly skilled United Association members who belong to over 300 individual local unions across North America.

The United Association has been training qualified pipe tradesmen longer than anyone else in the industry. The UA boasts the premier training programs available in the industry today, including five-year apprenticeship programs, extensive journeyman training organized instructor training, and certification programs. Visit www.UA.org.

ABOUT THE BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE: The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together ten major U.S. labor unions and four of America’s most influential environmental organizations and unites more than 14 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.