After twenty eight years of strong and effective leadership at the SMWIA’s International level, General President Michael Sullivan will be taking a well deserved retirement as General Secretary Treasurer Joseph Nigro becomes General President effective tomorrow, July 1st.
General President Sullivan served as a serious and thoughtful leader who always placed the long term needs of the Union and its membership above all else.
As the leader of the SMWIA, Sullivan confronted difficult issues head-on, even those that most others would avoid at all costs. In the early 2000s, he tackled the grueling task of bringing the SMWIA’s National Pension Fund onto sounder financial footing. After several years of struggle and effort, the decisive actions by the trustees under his leadership assured generations of sheet metal workers of a retirement with the dignity they and their families deserve.
On the political stage, Sullivan strongly stood for accountability on the part of politicians of all political stripes – including those that are considered allies of working families. The SMWIA was the first out of the box in standing with working people, no matter what profession or industry in which they worked. He did not hesitate in urging sheet metal workers to take to the streets in support of the teachers, firefighters, police officers and public employees, a stand which the SMWIA will continue to do so whenever workers’ rights are under attack.
Besides being a progressive firebrand and organizational problem solver, General President Sullivan has successfully established strong relationships with employers and industry groups. He opened up more job opportunities for members in working with the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute in recognizing the training and skills of the SMWIA’s members.
According to General Secretary Treasurer Joseph Nigro, “Few have served this International Union with as much dedication as Michael Sullivan. He is a man who constantly led by example and always placed the needs of others above his. His decisions were always tempered by what would allow the union to expand and enhance the quality of life for its members long into the future.”
General Secretary Treasurer Nigro, originally from Boston, Massachusetts was Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 before beginning his tenure on the International level as Assistant to the General President in 1999.
Joseph Sellers, Business Manager of Local 9 in Philadelphia, PA and 9th General Vice President, will become General Secretary-Treasurer.