Council staff meet with Alabama politicians, industry leaders

Three SSMRC representatives discussed the benefits of our workforce with Alabama political and industry leaders during the Manufacture Alabama Annual Legislative Reception and Dinner held in Montgomery Jan. 11.

Alabama’s largest manufacturers and most influential politicians and political candidates were present. This was an excellent opportunity for SSMRC leaders Wayne Jennings, executive secretary treasurer, Rick Halford, political director, and Jeff Smith, Central Region director, to advocate for our union and explain our value to both groups. Representatives of facility owners including WestRock, International Paper, 3M, Airbus, Google, Nucor, and BASF were present. Staff from the Energy Institute were in attendance as well.

SSMRC leaders spoke with: Larry Stutts, a member of the Alabama Senate; Katie Britt, a candidate for U.S. Senate; several other politicians and lobbyists; and numerous facility owners and contractors. They had dinner with Cynthia Almond, a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, and scheduled a follow-up meeting with Britt.

“Their impression out of the gate was that we were the boogeyman, but EST Jennings dispelled a lot of misinterpretation,” Halford said. “We are not an enemy but a partner to both business and politicians. Common ground on labor is what we seek.”

Jennings said he gave the union’s value proposition and explained who we are and what we stand for.

“Lots of industry owners were there,” Smith said. “Many people were interested in the SSMRC, and it was one of the best meetings we’ve ever been to in terms of contractors, owners, and politicians of importance to the industries we serve being under one roof.”

Halford said events like this come around only twice a year in Alabama. “The SSMRC needs to take advantage of these opportunities to get our branding and message to the right people so we can be successful in future endeavors,” he said.

Council leaders will attend a similar event in Tennessee next month.