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 http://www.IUPAT.org 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
SOURCE International Union of Painters and Allied Trades