FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan Kekeris, 410-564-5884, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement: IUPAT President Jimmy Williams, Jr, AMPP CEO Bob Chalker, and IUPAT District Council 57 BM/ST Chris Geronimos
IUPAT General President Jimmy Williams, Jr, AMPP CEO Bob Chalker, and IUPAT District Council 57 BM/ST Chris Geronimos, who represents thousands of workers in western Pennsylvania, released the following statements on the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge today:
IUPAT General President Williams:
“The Fern Hollow Bridge collapse should be a wake-up call, one that our union has been trying to make for decades now: that investment in our infrastructure is good for our communities. Infrastructure investment on par with the recent historic law signed by President Biden should be routine. This tragedy reinforces just how dire the condition of our infrastructure is, and we commend the President for his foresight in making infrastructure a priority.
Our union represents bridge painters across the country. We’ve seen firsthand the disrepair our bridges fall into when they aren’t maintained. That’s why we advocate that every community across the country should require qualified experts – workers and contractors – to do the construction and maintenance on these bridges. Too often corrosion failures occur because those who design structures aren’t experts in corrosion control.
Our work maintaining bridges is dangerous, but we are proud to do it because we know the risks of inaction are far greater to our communities. Our members, signatory contractors, and allies stand ready to make sure tragedies like this never happen again.”
“We are proud of, and committed to our partnership with Industry and IUPAT/FTI to ensure qualified contractors and experts are at the ready. We are also committed to working with our government officials to make sure they have the resources needed to ensure that investments in our infrastructure are made with the highest standards and yield sound results that will protect our nation’s assets. Much closer to home, as an organization with a headquarters office, employees and many members in the Pittsburgh area, we are prepared to partner with local officials to help determine the cause of this collapse.”
“The Fern Hollow Bridge accident underscores the urgency of fixing Pennsylvania’s 3,353 bridges that have deteriorated from years of neglect. IUPAT District Council 57’s highly skilled industrial painters stand ready to repair and maintain our vital roadways and bridges to help prevent future injuries and deaths. We pray that those injured have a speedy recovery, and our elected leaders take decisive action to address this critical issue.”
THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT)
Represents a growing community of over 140,000 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