Leading international construction workers' union backs HERO

|May 14|magazine8 min read

HANOVER, Md., May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the nation's leading construction workers' unions is offering the recently introduced HEROES Act a warm welcome, and will be mobilizing its members across the country to promote its passage in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. With hundreds of thousands of members in all fifty states, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) has emerged as a major voice in one of the nation's largest employment sectors.

"At last, the HEROES Act presents the kind of direction, relief, and opportunity for bipartisan action that America so desperately needs right now," said Ken Rigmaiden, General President of the IUPAT. "Our members have already experienced death, sickness and financial strife throughout this crisis and are in dire need of stability. Those workers, who are part of our organization, will be speaking out loudly to support its passage in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. For many of our members who are facing a future without vital health coverage, or who are working but do not currently have the worksite protections they need, the passage of the HEROES Act is increasingly a matter of life and death, and we will be mobilizing accordingly."

In particular, the union lauded the Act's measures to provide for 100% subsidization of COBRA for nine months, along with the parts of the law that would bolster unemployment insurance and infrastructure funding.

The construction industry has been rocked by the pandemic and many workers are facing the abyss posed by a potential loss in healthcare at a time when it is needed more than ever.

As reported, the new bipartisan bill put forth in the House on Tuesday would provide $3 trillion in relief that working people desperately need, including the continuation of unemployment benefits through January 2021, protections for multiemployer pensions, and assistance to laid-off workers' health care payments.

Additionally, the HEROES Act would require OSHA to issue a standard to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19, which the IUPAT has been calling on OSHA to do in a new campaign. The union supports the relief prescribed in the bill for Multi Employer Pensions but did raise concerns about some portions of the GROW Act being infused to the HEROES Act, but overall, it is pleased to see Congress moving on long-overdue relief for multiemployer pensions.

In March, the union released a policy platform urging Congress to take action on four key issues, all of which are addressed to some degree in the HEROES Act.

That platform included:

  1. Provide immediate unemployment to laid-off construction workers at 100% lost wages
  2. Provide continued health coverage so no one goes uninsured in the crisis
  3. Secure retirement plans affected by the crisis
  4. Invest in American infrastructure to quickly put construction workers back to work

ABOUT 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

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SOURCE International Union of Painters and Allied Trades