Skilled sheet metal workers fabricate and install heating and air conditioning systems, perform architectural sheet metal work, shipbuilding, appliance construction, heater and boiler construction, precision and specialty parts manufacturing and a variety of other jobs involving sheet metal.

Journeymen and apprentice Sheet Metal Workers can trace the origin of their union roots to the late 19th century.

1887 – Robert Kellerstrass, secretary of the Tin and Cornice Makers Association of Peoria, Illinois (a local sheet metal workers’ union) decided a national sheet metal workers’ union should be formed. He contacted as many Tinsmiths’ Locals as he could and arranged for a founding convention to be held in January 1888. Eleven delegates from Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee met for four days and on January 25, 1888 in Toledo, Ohio, the Tin, Sheet Iron and Cornice Workers’ International Association was founded.

1897 – Tin, Sheet Iron and Cornice Workers’ International Association was changed to the Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

1899 – First charter granted to the Union by the American Federation of Labor.

1901 – In five short years, the organization grew to include 108 Locals and 5,581 members in
the United States.

1903 – The union’s name was changed to the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Alliance (SMWIA) with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

1907 – The union merged with the Coppersmiths’ International Union.

1922 – The first air conditioning system for human comfort was used in a motion picture theater, ushering in a new era of work for Sheet Metal Workers.

1924 – The Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers’ absorbed the chandelier, brass, and metal workers in 1924, and once more changed its name to the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.

1927 – In spring, members of Local 206 in San Diego, California built structural reinforcements for Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft, The Spirit of St. Louis. This was the the plane Lindbergh flew into history in May 1927 by becoming the first aviator to cross the Atlantic non-stop from New York to Paris.

1942 – During World War II, Sheet Metal Workers assisted in the famous Manhattan Project by constructing buildings and making experimental machinery and atomic weapon-making equipment in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

1946 – SMWIA became one of the founding members of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council.

1946 – The Sheet Metal Workers negotiated a number of “firsts” including the first Local health and welfare plan in the construction industry, which was accomplished by Local 28 in New York City.

1950 – Local 28 negotiated the first pension plan in the construction industry.

1962 – SMWIA became the first union to offer its members accident insurance – protecting members at work and at home in cases of accidental death.

1971 – The National Training Fund was established and the National Maintenance Policy Agreement was established to promote labor-management cooperation in the construction trades.

1981 – The National Energy Management Institute was created in partnership with the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SMACNA).

1983 – The International Job Bank was created to offer SMWIA members employment opportunities outside of their local area.

1988 – SMWIA celebrated its 100 year anniversary.

1996 – The Department of Education was established to provide a specialized training curriculum for future union leaders.

2003 – SMWIA joined the Industrial Union Council (IUC), which consists of 14 unions with members represented in manufacturing industries across the United States.

2004 – SMWIA Local 41 became the first SMWIA local union established in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2011 – SMWIA merged with the United Transportation Union to form the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART).

2013 – SMART receives official charter from the AFL-CIO.

More Info On History of SMWIA and SMART