Here's an important little strip of metal that most people wouldn't give a second thought about, but for healthcare workers and first responders, it's the difference between a mask that fits and protects them and one that doesn't.

That's where sheet metal workers and manufacturers come in, not only from the Capital Region but all over the country.

SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers organized their unions and started making the little metal strips that help masks form to the wearer's face. The best part is that they have been donating them for free to the people that need them.  Locally Union 83 has donated over 43,000 of the metal strips and nationally the count is estimated to be over 13 million. That's impressive.

According to the Local 83 Union Facebook page, they donated 5000 metal strips to the Albany Sheriff Department, Rensselaer County Medical Reserve Corps, and many people that are sewing masks that need the little metal strip to help them fit better.

According to the article on, "As each request comes in, SMART assigns it to union local near the ZIP code of the request. That local will then work with a union contractor in the area to produce the strips and deliver them to the volunteer or organization that requested them."

To order these metal strips for masks contact SMART

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