UPDATE: LMCI and iFTI Adopt a Family for the Holidays

We exceeded our goal! Thanks to everyone who helped us bring some holiday cheer to a family in need!

It is the time of holiday cheer but, most importantly, it is also the season of giving. The staff of the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI and the International Finishing Trades Institute are working with the House of Ruth Maryland and we are pleased to announce that we have adopted a family of three for Christmas. We will be buying gifts for our family, a mother and her two sons (ages 2 and 15), and we call on others to follow our lead. Or, join us in supporting our family by following the link and instructions below:

All donations will be collected via GoFundMe. Please make your donations anonymous.

Happy Holidays to all and remember that the PATCH Foundation works every day to provide a better life for children in need in North America. Contact your IUPAT district council to learn more on how you can give to your local program.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week – Sec. Acosta Pays a Visit to IUPAT

On Monday, November 12, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta kicked off National Apprenticeship Week by visiting the IUPAT Finishing Trades Institute of District Council 51 in the Washington, DC area to lead a discussion on how apprenticeship can make a difference in a growing economy.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta (center) leads a panel discussion on apprenticeship with IUPAT leaders, members and guests in Metro Washington, DC.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades is holding events at its training centers throughout the United States to show neighbors, local leaders and students how apprenticeship is a path toward a successful professional and personal career.

Learn more about National Apprenticeship Week HERE, and visit this page again this week to see more of what the IUPAT Finishing Trades Institute is doing this week.

LMCI Progress on Growing the IUPAT, Contractor Market Share and Member Well Being

In December 2017, union and business leaders gathered at the LMCI Finishing Industries Forum (FIF) in Las Vegas to form four committees addressing key industry challenges. The collective goal of those four committees was to create a plan that will increase the work IUPAT contractors win, grow the ranks of the union and provide a resource for the men and women of the IUPAT who are facing personal hardships and reaching out for help.

On expanding market share for IUPAT contractors, which means more job opportunities IUPAT members, two committees were formed in the industrial painting and glazing trades.  Since that December FIF, representatives of each committee have met several times to form a plan and put it into action.

Committees formed at the 2017 Finishing Industries Forum continue to meet in 2018 to develop initiatives to grow the IUPAT and expand the market share of union contractors.

The glazing committee surveyed over 1,000 IUPAT glazing contractors across the United States and Canada to identify new opportunities in the sector and the best way to tap into them.  Currently, a research piece based on the survey and contractors interviews is being developed, as well as initial marketing materials to eventually be used by IUPAT glazing contractors to win these new sectors of the industry.

One of the primary goals of the industrial coating and painting committee was to develop web-based marketing materials that can be customized to highlight the local work of IUPAT painters. The committee worked with a company to identify the internet platform for design, and met mid-October for training on how to customize the marketing and information piece. The goal is for IUPAT representatives and organizers to use the system in their efforts to win more work throughout the United States and Canada.

In August, 216 IUPAT contractors and over 2,300 IUPAT members responded to a survey created by the committee formed to address suicide prevention and substance use disorder. The objective of the research was to measure their awareness of local programs and resources available to them to address substance use disorder and mental health issues.

Unfortunately, only nearly two-thirds of contractors, and well under half of the members surveyed were aware of programs available on the district council level to these issues.

In addition to correcting severe lack of awareness of available programs, the committee commissioned a new website that acts as a clearinghouse of information for members and employers to seek help for either themselves, an employee, a friend, or loved ones.

The site, www.IUPAThelpinghand.com, lists helpline phone numbers, gives the means to locate a local treatment center and provides educational materials to download and post in the workplace or distribute to fellow members.

The International Finishing Trades Institute is also lending a hand by developing curriculum and a peer advocacy program. This training is designed to inform and empower the construction industry by separating fact from fiction and encourage our workforce to choose proactively when it comes to behavioral health issues and addictions. Our goal is to educate individuals, in turn promoting a healthy, safe, and substance free working environment. The first courses are scheduled for late November.

In addition to finding avenues for bring new members to the IUPAT, the recruitment and retention committee has a strong emphasis on retaining those members, and the members we have now. One of the ways they plan on accomplishing this retention is by developing a mentorship program. This program will give young members an experienced member to turn to who, ideally, will help the younger and newer members navigate the challenges of their career and introduce them to the advantages of being union and staying union.

The committee is also developing a program and materials to address teachers, school counselors and principals on school professional developments days. This program will be designed in way that union recruiters can use in any part of the United States and Canada.

Check back for more updates on how IUPAT labor and management are working together to create more work opportunities and a better life for those in the Finishing Trades.

Platform Training Up and Running in IFTI

Platforms are crucial to job safety and effectiveness in bridge painting.  The stability they provide for painters often hundreds of feet in the air over ground or water give the men and women steady footing and security so they can return home safely. That same stability allows painters to work faster because they can stage equipment and other materials necessary to get the job done near them throughout the job.

In July, the International Finishing Trades hosted two leading companies in platform systems to hold a train the trainer course for IUPAT instructors – SafeSpan and Safway.

Representatives from each company not only put the IUPAT instructors through hands on training on the IFTI Training Center floor, they received in-depth classroom training and curriculum materials to take back to their councils as well.

Class attendees found the course on erecting these platform systems to be invaluable to their work. “It’s a skill that’s very valuable,” said Joe Dreher of District Council 5/Local Union 300 in Seattle.  “It’s always nice to know that the platform you’re working is one that you built. You know everything about it. It’s a confidence booster.”

Platform training will continue in 2019 for IUPAT instructors at the IFTI, while those who have already completed the course will holding classes of their own in their district councils in the months to come.

Renovated Texas IUPAT Training Center Opens Doors

On a hot September day in Houston, Texas, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 88 opened its newly refurbished training center in a ceremony with invited guests representing IUPAT leadership, contractors, and local political leaders.

DC 88 Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Eric Porter welcomed attendees to one of the most advanced training centers in the IUPAT thanks to the hard work of the staff of DC 88, and resources provided by the International.

IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden addresses members and special guests at the District Council 88 Training Center opening in Houston.

The International Finishing Trades Institute gave a $250,000 grant to the DC 88 training program to purchase equipment, a blast booth, mock ups and other tools to train in multiple IUPAT crafts. The IFTI also assisted their team in receiving a DeWalt tool display, and Safway and Safespan platforms for training.

Staff from the IUPAT Organizing Department, the Finishing Trades Institute and the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI also put their time and skills into the nearly year-long effort.

As a sign of true partnership, IUPAT contractors donated their time and materials to the reformation of the training center. This included Rodney Bardwell, Denise Baker and Dorothy Bardwell, the owners of Spring Glass. They assisted in the purchase of doors, door frames, glass and storefront materials to give the center high quality mock ups for glazing training.

IUPAT contractor JT Thorpe worked with IUPAT instructors from around the country, such as John Hamilton of District Council 4 (Buffalo) and Dave Jones from District Council 5 (Seattle), to perform on-site training while the center was being finished, so that the training never stopped.

Banners representing partners in the industry such as Purdy, SSPC and NACE lined the walls of the state-of-the-art center. This presence of these organizations celebrates the strong partnerships in training we have formed with these industry leaders. In fact, NACE and the IFTI are working together to have the resources in place to become the first NACE NIICAP Accredited AS-3 Training Center in the world.  “This is one of the best examples of how the IUPAT and IFTI are working together with industry partners to have not only our members certified in our crafts and recognized as the best on the job, but our contractors as well,” said Anton Ruesing, director of IFTI.

Training is well underway in District Council 88, and the IUPAT is moving strong to grow and put those newly trained members to work in Texas and in the rest of the Southwest United States.

People are Seeing A Lot of the IUPAT These Days

One of the primary goals of the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI is to showcase the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to not only those who work and have business with our many trades, but to the general public as well.

This fall, if you were reading USGlass magazine, or attended a national glazing trade show, you saw this advertisement for the IUPAT, among others, both digitally and in print.

At the end of September, the LMCI wrote an article for a USA Today insert reporting on the need for infrastructure investment.

The LMCI is expanding its advertising to cover the rest of the IUPAT crafts in 2019.  Keep any eye for more messages about how the IUPAT is leading the way in the Finishing Trades.

IFTI Partners with Occupational Health Dynamics

The Finishing Trades Institute International (IFTI) is pleased to announce a new and exciting partnership with Occupational Health Dynamics (OHD), a company we have had the pleasure of working with since discovering them while researching ‘best practices’ for the fit testing of our members. Since that initial meeting, they have demonstrated a history of exceptional value and commitment to the health and well-being of those working in the construction industry.

As a result of this experience, the IFTI has partnered with OHD on the Quantifit mask fit testing system for OSHA compliant respirator fit testing.  The Quantifit allows for the fastest fit test on the market and has already been purchased by a number of our training facilities.

According to George Boots, DC 6 (Ohio) Director of Training, “We have used the equipment for just over a year, and our members love it!  Our Fund administrator analyzed the cost savings from using this equipment versus outsourcing fit testing services the previous year, and we had a savings of 35.5% with the use of the Quantifit test system and Examinetics.”

The IFTI continues to make strides in forming partnerships to give IUPAT members the tools to become not only the most skilled on the job site, but the most safe as well.

IUPAT Volunteers Lend Skills to Local Park Fishing Pier

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), volunteers from the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin (BTC) and a crowd of union and community leaders, volunteers, park staff and youths gathered at the newly renovated Vilas Park Fishing Pier in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 14, 2018 to celebrate better access to the lake for all.

Using funds raised at the USA’s annual AFL-CIO, BTC Madison Area Conservation Dinner, more than 50 local union volunteers teamed up with the USA and the city of Madison to transform the park’s original floating fishing pier—which was languishing in disrepair in a city storage yard—into a safe structure fully accessible to residents of all physical abilities.

More than $28,000 in materials and nearly $10,000 in union volunteer labor were donated to the project, which was organized under through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation program. Volunteers coordinated transportation of the pier to one of the local union shops where over the course of a cold Wisconsin winter, numerous repairs were made, including the installation of new decking and a sturdy railing system.

In preparation for installation of the renovated pier, volunteers and union contractors also designed and constructed a pier abutment as well as a new sidewalk and steps on the edge of popular Lake Wingra.

As a testament to the access the new pier provides community members to Wingra’s panfish, bass and other gamefish, the structure was in use within minutes of the dedication. As union representatives and volunteers packed up to leave, Adam Paull of Madison took his four-year-old daughter Natalie fishing on the new pier. Thanks to the abundant and hungry sunfish schooling a short cast from the dock, she quickly reeled in the first fish of her life.

Natalie was ecstatic, while her father was grateful to the union volunteers, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and other project partners for providing a place to create such priceless memories. “This is great,” he said. “The pier is in the perfect place for us to enjoy the lake together and catch fish.”

City officials were likewise grateful. “I’m deeply appreciative to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and all the trades for making this happen,” said Madison Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp. “The high quality of craftsmanship displayed by these union volunteers is a testament to their commitment to this project and to their community, and marks the continuation of a longstanding tradition of union workers giving back to the city of Madison.”

“The Building Trades Council has been working with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance for six years to raise funds for conservation projects and Take Kids Fishing youth events,” said project leader BCT Executive Director Dave Branson. “We feel this fishing pier was a good project to give back to the community and make the lake accessible to everyone.”

“The Vilas Park pier project is an excellent example of how local unions are positively impacting their communities and the future of conservation through the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground program,” added USA Conservation Manager Robert Stroede. “This pier provides improved and safer public access for all residents to enjoy the fishery and beauty of Lake Wingra.”

In an outstanding display of solidarity and community service, a coalition of volunteers from the following unions and groups donated their time and skills to this project: Ironworkers (IW) Local 383, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Local 13, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) Local 314, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (IAHFIAW) Local 19, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 159, International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 132, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 7, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Locals 113 and 330, Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 18, Badger Sheet Metal, Forse Consulting, Ideal Crane, Sullivan Design Build, Terra Engineering and Construction, and Wiedenbeck, Inc.

LMCI Survey Seeks Answers to Suicide & Substance Use in Construction

Valued IUPAT Members & Contractors:

Workers in construction have suffered greatly from substance use disorder and suicide. We have all heard the statistics, and far too many of us know of a family member or cherished friend who is dealing with these issues in their life.

The Painters and Allied Trades LMCI is taking measures to address these issues for employers, members and their families by bringing substance use and mental health professionals together to provide support and resources for relief.

In the coming weeks and months you will hear more about these resources, but in the meantime we need your help to collect information crucial to our success.

We ask that you take a minute to complete this brief survey. Your answers will play a large part in changing lives. Please know that the information is being collected by a third party and will remain anonymous and confidential, as no identifying information such as names and emails are asked for or recorded.

Thank you for your willingness to help develop the Substance Use Disorder & Suicide Prevention program through your survey input and comments.


Special Announcement About the 2018 LMCI Finishing Industries Forum

I am writing to inform you that the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI Finishing Industries Forum (FIF), as you have come to know it, will not be held in 2018.

For nearly 15 years, the LMCI has held this annual event for the leaders and industry partners of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.  In those years, the tools, resources and alliances developed at FIF have served to build a stronger unionized industry for both business and the workforce.

In 2017, the LMCI FIF drew union and business leaders from the Finishing Industry together in several committees to address market share in our trades, recruitment and retention, and the impact of substance abuse and suicide on the crafts men and women of the IUPAT.

This year, instead of the traditional meeting we have followed at previous Finishing Industries Forums, we are gathering representatives of the committees alone to meet and continue their work. It is our goal to present the results at the 2019 Finishing Industries Forum in Las Vegas, which will be held in December.

In the meantime, we will continue to update you on the progress made in these committees, as well as what the Painters and Allied Trades LMCI will have to offer at next year’s Finishing Industries Forum over the next several months via our email newsletter – The LMCI Blueprint. Also, be sure to check in with us on Twitter – @TheLMCI, and Facebook – Facebook.com/TheLMCI to keep up to date on everything the LMCI is working on.

Anton P. Ruesing, V