Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Painters and Allied Trades


Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Painters and Allied Trades.

Name of Union: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)

Mission: To shape members' communities through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families and through effective and aggressive political mobilization.

Current Leadership of Union: Kenneth E. Rigmaiden serves as general president. Rigmaiden graduated from California State University in San Jose in 1977 and immediately enrolled in the floor covering apprenticeship training program of IUPAT Local 1288. He completed the training and fulfilled the state of California's apprenticeship standards in 1980.

He quickly became involved in the local and, over the next six years, served as an executive board member, trustee, vice president and then president of the union. He also taught floor covering installation to apprentices. 

In 1986, Rigmaiden was elected as the local's business representative and later served in the same role for IUPAT Local 12, which he helped form through the combination of several other locals in his area. He rose to become a general representative and then an assistant to the general president of the international union. In 2002, he was elevated to the position of executive general vice president; and in 2013, he was unanimously elected general president.

George Galis serves as general secretary-treasurer and IUPAT has five general vice presidents—William D. Candelori Jr., Robert Kucheran, Harry Zell, Mark Van Zevern and James A. Williams Jr.—and two general presidents with emeritus status, James A. Williams and A.L. "Mike" Monroe.

Number of Members: 160,000

Members Work As: Industrial and commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers and glass workers, sign and display installers, floor covering installers and many more.

Industries Represented: The construction industry, public sector, trade shows and others.

History: The union that would become IUPAT was organized originally as the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America in 1887. Within a year, the union had grown to more than 100 locals and 7,000 members. By the turn of the century, the Brotherhood was publishing "The Painter and Decorator" to provide news on the industry.

In 1921, the union opened its first real home, a four-story office building, in Lafayette, Indiana. Most of the offices of the union remained in that location until 1967, when its headquarters was moved to Washington, D.C. Over the years, IUPAT members have worked on many notable projects, with a highlight being a facelift of the White House before the inauguration of President Richard Nixon. In 1970, expanding membership led to a new name, the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades.

The growing female membership of the union led General President Michael Monroe to rebrand as the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. In 2010, IUPAT moved its international headquarters to a new home in Hanover, Maryland. The new HQ building is part of a campus that includes a residence hall and an international training center.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IUPAT encourages its members and all workers to engage through its educational "We Are Union: From the Front Lines" series on all digital platforms to understand the challenges facing the labor movement today and what we are all doing to address them. The Labor-Management Cooperation Initiative helps bring together workers and contractors to provide a unified voice to industry leaders. IUPAT Job Corps helps working people find quality jobs in the finishing trades. The IUPAT Pension Fund helps working people in the finishing trades prepare for retirement. The CORE Program helps community members learn from the industry what issues and concerns are most important. Channel 1 videos help people keep up with the latest news from the industry.

Learn More: Website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube