Blue-collar workers continue to break away from Trump, as Bi

|Jun 25|magazine9 min read

HANOVER, Md., June 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the largest and most politically active building trades unions in the United States, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), has officially endorsed Joe Biden for President of the United States. The union represents tens of thousands of workers who work with paint, glass, drywall, and other key materials on construction sites from coast to coast.

The union's endorsement and its pledge to double down on election mobilization this year in key battleground states puts yet another roadblock between the Trump administration and a second term.

In recent years, IUPAT members have been fighting against the Trump administration's anti-worker policies on a range of fronts, ranging from apprenticeship standards to immigration policy, and many others.

"Joe Biden has dedicated his career to helping working people. He has been a champion in protecting the right of workers to form unions -- and to have a safe, fair workplace," said IUPAT General President Ken Rigmaiden. "We'll be fighting to make Joe Biden the next President of the United States, because he fights for working families. The administration has attempted to orchestrate a systematic destruction of worker protections -- and has tried to veil these efforts with hateful rhetoric that seeks to pit us against each other. As working families everywhere grapple with the effects of a global pandemic, we need a strong leader like Joe Biden who will unite everyday Americans and who will fight for the organized labor movement. We see that future with Joe Biden and we will make it a reality."

The IUPAT has been at odds with the Trump administration since the inauguration. Last summer, over 17,000 IUPAT members spoke out against the Department of Labor's "Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program" proposal, which was designed to undercut existing union apprenticeships, and to downgrade safety and wage standards across the construction industry.

Despite Trump's promises to focus on rebuilding American infrastructure, the President walked away from infrastructure negotiations in 2019, angering union members, and leaving the industry more vulnerable to the economic downturn that has coincided with the administration's total failure to respond effectively to the outbreak of COVID-19.

As thousands of IUPAT workers lost their jobs due to COVID-19, the IUPAT criticized the President for stalling relief, allowing millions of Americans to face lapses in health coverage and pushing for job site reopenings even when conditions were not safe for workers.

"I need to see a real leader in the White House – someone who tells it like it is but who actually knows what he's talking about, and works to get things done," said Vaughn Simmons from Wisconsin, a painter with the IUPAT. "I realize that many of my co-workers voted for Trump because of the tough-guy image, but enough is enough. We know smoke and mirrors when we see it. Joe Biden is the guy."

THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT)
Represents a growing community of over 110,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. The IUPAT membership extends far beyond the workplace. 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. Visit www.IUPAT.org to learn more.

Construction workers and labor leaders available for interview about why they are endorsing Joe Biden.

Contacts on behalf of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Libby Smelker, 617-485-4801, [email protected]
John Doherty, 617-592-2230, [email protected]

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SOURCE International Union of Painters and Allied Trades