U.S. Secretary of Labor Praises Leaders at the 2013 Finishing Industries Forum

A Strong Labor and Management Partnership Promises a Bold Future for All

On Monday, December 9, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez walked on stage at the 2013 LMCI Finishing Industries Forum (FIF) with International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President Kenneth Rigmaiden and Finishing Contractors Association International (FCA) Chairman Mike Cassidy to address over 500 attendees made up of business and labor leaders.

The secretary was invited by Rigmaiden to speak at the event and take the opportunity to see firsthand how effectively labor and management can work together.

“It is an honor to be here,” said Perez.  “This [meeting] is the embodiment of what we are trying to talk about.  [The economy is] moving in the right direction, but we’ve got to pick up the pace.  One of the keys to picking up that pace is what you know here and what you practice here; and that is partnership.  You have recognized that partnership is the key to your success.”

Perez was readily impressed with the three-day event and praised the vision of the attendees and organizers.  “We have a lot of work to do in the nation to rebuild this economy,” Perez said. “We’re making progress, but we’ve got a long way to go.  The reason I’m here is because you all are on to something.  I hope that when you leave here today that you will have a sense, and take it from someone who’s had the privilege on this job and others of seeing a national landscape, you’re onto something.  I wanted to come here to tell you that.”

Prior to addressing the attendees, the secretary met with the LMCI Board of Trustees in private for nearly an hour to have a conversation about some of the advances the IUPAT and its employers have made as a result of strong labor/management relations.

“We covered a lot of ground in the meeting,” said Rigmaiden.  “We discussed subjects ranging from the LMCI itself to training, such as the coating application specialist certification and project management training.  We’re extremely honored that Secretary Perez took such an enormous amount of time out of his schedule to attend our meeting and we look forward, with pleasure, to working with him and his team in the future.”

Secretary Perez ended his speech with a promise that many would hear from him about the strong labor and management partnership this group has forged over the years.

“Thank you for having me,” said Perez.  “I look forward to telling my colleagues in Washington and across the country about the wonderful example that you have set, Ken, and that you have set, Mike, and that all of you in the audience have set.  You all have a lot to be excited about.”

Watch the speech below: