IUPAT to political leaders: Protect workers from COVID-19 pandemic

20 March 2020 06:57

Amid the conflicting policy proposals on how to respond to COVID-19, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), representing workers in the United States and Canada, has called for congressional action to support workers impacted by the pandemic. 

IUPAT, a BWI affiliate, made the call amid the differing proposals presented, which the group said do not often adequately cover the needs and concerns of working people. In the United States, IUPAT reported that there have been conflicting proposals from the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, even as actions are being taken in many states and cities. 

In a statement, IUPAT President Ken Rigmaiden declared: “All workers must be afforded basic human rights by their government in the face of this crisis — as opposed to just another bailout for the corporate elite. Right now, large corporations are lining up with their hands out for federal aid, while workers are losing their jobs, their health insurance, and their economic security. Our membership works in every sector of the US economy from hospitality, retail, real estate, infrastructure, to the public sector. We will fight to ensure our members, and workers across this country, are not left behind by Congress.”

As a response, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said: “Although IUPAT President Rigmaiden was addressing the situation in the United States, he has identified a problem that is found, too often, in other countries as well. Help channelled to workers and others most affected by the crisis will not only accelerate the ending of the pandemic, but will also ensure that stimulus programs benefit workers and boost the real economy rather than helping those who need no protection and who will not necessarily put those resources into circulation.” 

The news release from the IUPAT, including the comments of President Rigmaiden, the statement of the union as well as a comprehensive platform can be found at: