The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Approaches the $2 Million Mark in its Disaster Relief Fund Created for its Members on the Gulf Coast

Also Forming a National Job Bank, Supply Caravans for its Members in Need

Sep 08, 2005, 01:00 ET from International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In the weeks leading up to Labor Day
 2005, all discussions of organized labor revolved around its internal strife
 coupled with the speculation that it is quickly losing relevance in today's
 workplace.  Yet, when faced with the catastrophe Hurricane Katrina brought to
 the Gulf Coast, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
 quickly showed its members and the rest of the world just want kind of
 difference a union can make for its members.
     In the days following the flooding of New Orleans and elsewhere, the IUPAT
 announced the creation of the Finishing Industries Disaster Relief Fund to
 assist its over 1,400 members displaced by the storm and high waters.  The
 first order of business by IUPAT leadership was to authorize a $1 million
 donation to the fund and call on its over 140,000 members to make a donation
 via its website and local union halls.  IUPAT district councils, the union's
 regional headquarters in the U.S. and Canada, are moving quickly to assist
 their union brothers and sisters in the south.  In fact, it was announced
 yesterday that District Council 21 in Philadelphia was making a gift of over
 $100,000 to the fund.  Other such pledges and membership donations, even from
 retired members, are quickly growing the fund and it is now approaching the
 $2 million mark.
     "Frankly, I'm not surprised that we're getting such a response by our
 members," said IUPAT General President James Williams.  "What has happened on
 the Gulf Coast is an unprecedented disaster and our people are facing not just
 the loss of work and a livelihood, but their homes as well.  What you're
 seeing is the union difference.  This kind of support is what it means to be
 in a union."
     And it's just not the union members of the IUPAT who are digging deep into
 their pockets for this cause, the union's employers started a sister relief
 fund.  The Finishing Contractors Association, an organization representing
 many of the IUPAT employers, has pledged to raise $2 million from its
 membership and it is well on its way to reaching that goal.  It will assist
 not only IUPAT members but the many contractors who have been affected by this
 disaster as well.
     In addition to the relief funds, the IUPAT and the FCA are working
 together to create a national job bank for IUPAT members as well as provide
 shelter for those who must travel to work in these news jobs.
     For more information visit and
     The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades represents over
 140,000 men and women in North America.  Our trades include commercial and
 residential painting, glazing, drywall finishing and floor covering.
     CONTACT:  Gavin McDonald
     PHONE:    202-637-0707
               202-351-8547 (mobile)

SOURCE International Union of Painters and Allied Trades