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Amid an era of wage stagnation, diminishing worker protections, and a shrinking middle class, thousands of members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) is convening throughout this week for their international convention.
Across the country, IUPAT is taking a stand for workers' rights and protections, leading the building trades in the progressive movement.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were the first of a slate of U.S. presidential candidates to take the opportunity to address the fast-growing and politically active IUPAT, laying out their commitments to labor and their plans to protect working families if elected president next year.
“When Donald Trump and his administration push the anti-union Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, that are bad for workers, bad for the public, and undermine the high quality union apprenticeship programs in America, they are waging a war on workers,” said U.S. Senator Sanders to a packed convention hall. “The great apprenticeship programs you are now developing and working on... your efforts have made it easier for working class young people, for high school kids, to get the training that they need to go out into the world and get the good-paying jobs that are there.”
The union is fighting in cities and towns across the country for what every working family in the 21st century needs: livable wages, decent benefits, safe and healthy work sites, and collaborative and respectful workplaces.
In his remarks, Mayor Buttigieg shared his vision for working families saying, “We need to reverse the assault on organized labor that’s going on right now. We know that if we sit back any longer, we are going to slide back on the standard of living of the American working people... And we all will see the American dream slipping away… I am making the case to create the opportunity to expand unions. We are going to double union membership in this country and I am convinced we can do it. When we do, workers will have the building blocks, the good wages, and the kind of support they deserve.”
In addition to hosting presidential candidates, the convention provides a “from the front lines” look at what the IUPAT is doing to mobilize and educate its 110,000 members on fighting back and standing up for what workers need, especially important in the run-up to the 2020 election.
IUPAT, which represents painters, glaziers, wall coverers, flooring installers, convention and trade show decorators, glassworkers, sign and display workers, asbestos worker/hazmat technicians and drywall finishers in the United States and Canada, is expected to come out strong for candidates who will fight for working families and worker rights in the upcoming election.
“IUPAT is leading the fight for high-quality workplaces where workers have a voice, respect and dignity. At the same time, we are vigorously standing up to continued attacks on labor by the White House, members of Congress, and the judiciary,” said IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak welcomed attendees of the convention with a rousing speech on Monday morning.
“What’s good for organized labor, what’s good for unions, is good for America,” said Sisolak. “I will always put working families first.”
Other speakers at the convention include AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey, and many other progressive leaders.
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker are expected to address the IUPAT Convention on Wednesday, while Senator Elizabeth Warren is expected to speak on Thursday.
FULL 2019 IUPAT CONVENTION SPEAKER SCHEDULE AS OF 8/13/19
(SUBJECT TO CHANGE. FOR UPDATES AND SPECIFIC SPEAKER TIMES, CONTACT: Libby@617MediaGroup.com and Jeff@617MediaGroup.com)
Monday, Aug. 12
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME
Tuesday, Aug. 13
Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor, South Bend, IN, and Candidate for U.S. President
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator, Vermont, and Candidate for U.S. President
Keynote Speech: Kenneth Rigmaiden, General President, IUPAT
Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions
Stacey Abrams, Founder, Fair Fight
Wednesday, Aug. 14
Terry Melvin, President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
D. Taylor, President, UNITE HERE
Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator, Minnesota, and Candidate for U.S. President
James Boland, President, International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftsworkers
Cory Booker, U.S. Senator, New Jersey, and Candidate for U.S. President
Thursday, Aug. 15
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
Bob Chalker, CEO, NACE International
Arlene Dunn, Director, Canada's Building Trades Unions
Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts, and Candidate for U.S. President
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The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades represents a growing community of over 110,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labor movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families, and through effective worker education and mobilization. Learn more at www.IUPAT.org
John Doherty International Union of Painters and Allied Trades 6175922230 firstname.lastname@example.org