For 125 years, Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ Local 30 has contributed to Ontario’s economic and social development through vital contributions in buildings, including such landmarks as the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and some of Toronto’s oldest churches.
Many of Ontario’s HVAC systems, roofs, siding, copings and flashings on architecturally significant buildings in Toronto and other communities are thanks to the skill and labour of Local 30.
Local 30 was chartered as a local of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association in 1896. Following a merger with another trade union in the United States, the name of the union was changed to International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) in 2011.
This month, Business Elite Canada spoke with Art White, Business Manager for the Sheet Metal Workers’ & Roofers’ Local 30, about the Union’s growth and contributions to the province.
Q: Who are the members of Local 30?
A: Local 30 is a trade union that currently represents more than 3000 sheet metal workers, roofers, siders and deckers who work primarily in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector of the construction industry in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. We also represent production workers who fabricate metal products in factories. Our representation covers most matters related to the employment of our members, including collective bargaining, grievance resolution and the protection of health and safety.
Q: Please give an overview of Local 30’s origins 125 years ago.
A: Local 30 was chartered as a local of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association in 1896.
At that time, buildings trades unions in North America were in their infancy. The International Association itself was founded in 1888 in the United States, and it was only a matter of time before sheet metal workers would be organized in Toronto, at that time Canada’s second largest city. In those early years Local 30 struggled to gain recognition for the right to represent their members and improve their working conditions, but the local union slowly gathered strength as the years went on.
Q: I’m sure much has changed in 125 years—what are some ways Local 30 has evolved? How has it incorporated changes in technologies, regulations, etc.
A: Over the last 125 years we have gradually increased our membership and with that has come more power at the bargaining table. We have developed apprenticeship programs that have focussed on keeping our membership up to date with the latest technologies affecting the sheet
metal trade. In 1952 we organized roofers in the GTA and broadened the base of tradespeople that we represent. In 2015 we moved into a larger facility to accommodate our growing membership. A few years later we renovated a portion of the building to create a state-of-the-
art training centre.
Q: What has remained unchanged in 125 years?
A: Our commitment to improving the lives of our members and their families has not changed. Our optimism about what our members can achieve when they work together for progressive change has also remained constant.
Q: What is Local 30 doing to mark this incredible milestone?
A: We had originally planned to hold a gala dinner for our members but due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were compelled to forego that option. Instead, we have ordered special anniversary jackets for our members, and we are distributing a commemorative book highlighting our long and successful history.