The AFL-CIO Executive Council recognizes the service of retired Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President Kenneth Rigmaiden.
Rigmaiden started his distinguished career with IUPAT in 1977 as an apprentice in Local 1288’s floor covering training program. Over the next two decades, he served in a number of roles for the local, focusing his career on labor-management relations. He was a key participant in the amalgamation of several local unions in his region and in negotiating the first regionwide collective bargaining agreement for Northern California.
Rigmaiden served in various union leadership roles for the international union prior to being unanimously elected general president in 2013. He was the first African American elected president of a building trades union.
As the general president of IUPAT, he fought passionately to advance workers’ rights and immigrant rights and was a leading advocate for racial and economic justice. Rigmaiden devoted resources and staff to underserved communities. He still believes unions are for everyone and no one should be left behind.
As a member of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice and the AFL-CIO Task Force on Racial Justice, Rigmaiden provided an important voice on addressing the systemic racism, discrimination and inequality that plagues our nation.
As a trustee on the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), Rigmaiden championed the power of HIT to deliver solid returns for America’s working families while fostering community development and creating good union jobs.
He brought vision and leadership to the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, offering insight into engaging and attracting a diverse workforce.
Kenneth Rigmaiden was committed to building a strong and inclusive labor movement for the next generation of union members, activists and leaders, and his influence will be felt for generations to come. The Executive Council wishes him well in his next endeavors.