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Season 3, Episode 88

10-day painters’ strike yields largest pay increase in 17 years



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Jessica Podhola

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Jessica Podhola, Director of Governmental Affairs for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 3, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed a successful 10-day strike by Painters and Finishers Local 2012 that yielded its largest pay increase in 17 years.

After several months of wage negotiations, over 600 members went on strike against the Builders’ Association, a local construction group with which the union painters and finishers have a multimillion-dollar contract. In April, the members accepted a contract that provides wage increases between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, depending on the trade of the worker. 

The strike effectively shut down construction in Kansas City, Podhola explained. Companies need to understand that workers have a choice in today’s labor economy and the level of pay they earn is critical to the high quality of labor unions provide, she said. Ultimately, the contractors recognized this and returned to the bargaining table. The pay increase the Local secured is proof that direct action works, she added.

Podhola also talked about the importance of providing quality maternity leave in order to facilitate more women to join the workforce. Up to 80 percent of the District Council’s Local Unions offer some sort of maternity leave, she said. Providing maternity leave is ultimately a good fiscal policy and the right thing to do, because it helps grow union membership, she added.

Lastly, Podhola talked about the growth of unions and why this is an exciting time in the labor movement. Workers have the power, and the more they realize that through unionization, the brighter the future will be economically for working families everywhere, she said. 

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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