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Painters Union Builds Alliances at the Local Level, with Focus on Youth

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(Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about IUPAT’s CORE Initiative. See first part here.)

Jobs, School Supplies, Training

Photo courtesy of IUPAT

DC 58 in Illinois and Missouri is running several community outreach programs under the CORE umbrella, including the Advanced Skills Workforce Center (ASWC) in St. Louis, whose mission is to stimulate the economy and enhance residents’ quality of life by establishing paths to financial, educational and personal growth.

And in the wake of the police killing of Michael Brown, DC 58 has expanded to Ferguson, Mo., outreach for St. Louis’s Northside Regeneration Project – a 10-year urban renewal initiative expected to create 65,000 new jobs utilizing union labor. 

DC 58 is also partnering with Homework Hangout, a youth organization in Decatur, Ill., that provides a safe afterschool haven where children can do homework and recreational activities. DC 58’s Transitional Trade Service Program, which provides trade-specific training two days a week over 30 weeks, is now open to Homework Hangout students.

As a result of these efforts, the IUPAT is already enrolling new apprentices in St. Louis and Decatur.

The IUPAT Positive Force

In the Pacific Northwest, the old adage that actions speak louder than words – in this case standing up for the rights of all workers, not just union members – has advanced what the union calls “IUPAT’s positive force, and a way of life,” for communities and their residents.

In 2013, significant levels of wage theft, employee exploitation and intimidation were eroding opportunities for signatory employers to win projects and jobs for IUPAT members. So DC 5 in Seattle and its community partners joined together to recover some $400,000 in back wages for almost 1,000 unrepresented craft workers. 

Photo courtesy of IUPATIn another case, the union helped employees of a single drywall contractor win $500,000 – and more than $100,000 in attorney fees – when the employer failed to pay overtime. These efforts also recovered tens of thousands of work hours for DC 5 members. 

These efforts have not only helped grow the union and increase IUPAT contractors’ ability to compete, they have also led to a close relationship between IUPAT and the division of the U.S. Department of Labor that works on such cases.

There is no doubt that IUPAT’s CORE initiative is making a profound difference in our communities, the union and the labor movement overall,” said Hayn.

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