Organizing more work and more members is the heart of every union. Organizing work always requires the active and committed participation of all members, and the SMART Education Department offers many classes to build that involvement. The interests of members and workers throughout the industries we represent—along with the continued health and survival of our union—demand organizing that is both aggressive and effective. Educating members for those efforts is precisely why SM Local 177 in Nashville, Tenn., held a class for COMET (Construction Organizing Membership Education Training). COMET is designed to empower members to reclaim control of industry market share and rebuild the Union’s bargaining strength. SM Local 177 Organizer Steve Goolsby successfully mobilized a significant group to take part in the class: 80 apprentices; seven instructors (Tommy Russell, David Larue, Tracy Grimes, Russell Hawkins, Dave Morgan, Adrian Mizell, Randy Jones); training coordinator Joe Maloney; Local Union President Stephen Burgett; Business Manager Anthony Easley; and International Organizer Andrew Maute. The training was well received, and evaluations indicated that attendees thought the class provided real value. A noteworthy aspect of this COMET session was the visible recruiting success the Local achieved with veterans (Helmets to Hardhats), community college attendees (Tennessee Career and Technology School) and minorities in construction (women of Local 177).
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