National Labor College’s Alumni Association has named Marc A. Norberg – who graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labor Studies – Alumni of the Year. Marc is the Assistant to the General President of SMART (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union).
Among his other duties, Marc coordinates the International’s interface with renewable energy sources, green energy and combined heat and power organizations. Formerly, he was the President and Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and also served as a Labor Trustee on the SMWIA National Pension Fund. Marc and his wife Linda have two sons, both SMWIA members and third generation journeymen sheet metal workers.
The alumni of the year was chosen based on involvement with the alumni association and dedication to promoting NLC.
This is Marc’s story:
I grew up in a union family where the importance of being in a union was what is now known as a family value. People in my neighborhood could be described interchangeably by the work they did or the union they belonged to. There was no difference in social standing between those who had a college diploma or a journeyman card – they were equally prestigious and equally well-paid.
Later on when I realized that my family obligations and an inability to piece together enough scholarships in order to attend college meant that I would take up a trade, I happily followed my father’s footsteps and applied to become a sheet metal worker apprentice. When I told him this he was so proud he wept.
I learned my trade in the following years, but I learned more about the world and the people in it than I ever thought possible. I lived in a world where you were judged on your character and being a “stand up” union man was an important facet.
Being a union member has rewarded me beyond any expectation I could have imagined. Part of this reward was making possible a higher education at National Labor College possible.
Availing myself of this opportunity provided me with the critical thinking skills, research tools, enhanced communication abilities and numerous other talents that allowed me to serve the members of my local union better. Ultimately, I feel these skills helped me to obtain a position with my International Association.