In August 2015, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades distributed paper ballots to each of its members via mail so they could cast their vote on who the IUPAT should endorse in this presidential contest. A website was also launched. On both the site and the ballot, the names of candidates from both parties were listed. Secretary Hillary Clinton was the clear winner when the votes were counted. However, IUPAT members also made it clear there were candidates on the Republican side of the ticket that earned their support, as well.
That is why the IUPAT Government Affairs Department follows an ongoing mandate to work with both sides of the aisle when it comes to politics, Democrat and Republican. This includes a trip to Cleveland in July to attend the Republican National Convention. “We want to make certain the IUPAT has a presence at both conventions with the goal to represent the interests of all of our members,” said Chris Sloan, director of Government Affairs. “Many of the most active and influential GOP leaders are in town for the convention, and we have been working every day that we have been here knowing that the path of the IUPAT does not necessarily follow any one party line. While we vehemently disagree with the GOP presidential nominee on many issues, we are here for Republican allies who have been there for the IUPAT members time and time again.”
Our union has a long tradition of working with members of the GOP. Together, we have defended Right-to-Work attacks in Missouri, and prevented the recent attempted repeal of Davis-Bacon in the Interior Appropriations Bill. Republican Representative Bill Shuster from Pennsylvania, the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, was the leading force in securing a provision with the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt industrial coating standards that will put more IUPAT members to work across the country.
“The IUPAT is open to ideas and initiatives from any leader that benefit working families, regardless of his or her political party,” said IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden at a recent political directors meeting for the union. “We tell them, if you are ready to work with us, we are ready to work with you.”
After Cleveland, the IUPAT delegation of members and activists will go to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, where the work will continue on behalf of the members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. More to report soon.