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Season 5, Episode 32

How one former MMA fighter has turned his training into a union career



Guest Name:

Josh Williams

Guest Website:


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Josh Williams, business agent for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Local 24 in Columbus, Ohio, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how his previous career as an MMA fighter helped him succeed with the Local.

Williams, a former Judo athlete at The Ohio State University, later turned to the Octagon as a Mixed Martial Arts athlete, becoming an early fighter for the UFC. After retiring at 25 due to injuries, he turned to coaching. One of his fighters was a Sheet Metal worker, and he convinced Williams to trade in the gloves for a toolbox. It’s been 15 years since Williams became a member of SMART Local 24 in Columbus, Ohio, however, he still spends much of his time as a full-time MMA coach. 

Coming from the world of fighting, the construction industry's environment suited Williams well. With the construction boom in Columbus, the mental strength to handle the demands of the non-stop work was a tool Williams developed during his time in the MMA. As Williams said, anything is better than being punched in the face.

As a coach, Williams has learned to find the weaknesses and strengths of his fighters. He talked about how this assists him in finding and training potential new members. Among the things he looks for is a desire to grow. He’s found that a worker who doesn’t mind the struggles of developing and growing has shown the ability to succeed in the trade.

For more on Williams and SMART Local 24, please listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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