IUPAT Raises Nearly $2 million to Aid Gulf Coast Members

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has created the Finishing Industries Disaster Relief Fund to raise money and assist its more than 1,400 members in the Gulf Coast area.

IUPAT's first order of business was to authorize a $1 million donation to the fund and call on its more than 140,000 members to make donations as well. Among member donations, District Council 21 in Philadelphia made a $100,000 donation. IUPAT says that with the many pledges and donations, even from retired members, the fund is quickly approaching the $2 million mark.

"Frankly, I'm not surprised that we're getting such a response by our members," said James Williams, IUPAT general president. "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." He continued, "What you're seeing is the union difference. This kind of support is what it means to be in a union."

In addition to the IUPAT's efforts, the union's employees have also created a sister relief fund. The Finishing Contractor's Association (FCA), which represents many IUPAT employees, has pledged to raise $2 million from its members as well. The FCA and IUPAT are also working together to create a national job bank for IUPAT members, and also provide shelter for those who will have to travel to work in these new jobs.

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