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DC7 Newsletter - January 2023

24 Jan 2023

Update from Andy Buck

I hope you and your family had a great holiday season. I would like to take some time to look back at 2022 and look forward to 2023 and beyond.

Your union is committed to advocating for policies that advance our interest as working people, in Madison, Lansing, and Washington DC. Regardless of what is said at the worksite, your union supports the policies and people regardless of political party.

Some policies we were concerned with last year from Wisconsin’s legislative session included changes to unemployment that would have made you, as a union member, do up to four work searches per week and take a job at lower pay or lose your unemployment benefits. Changes to apprenticeship programs were also proposed. We are the true conservative business model, paying for all our training and not using taxpayer dollars to train painters, drywall finishers and glaziers. Fortunately, Governor Evers vetoed this. We all pay enough in taxes! Why would we use our hard-earned tax dollars to train painters, glaziers, and drywall finishers?

On the federal side, President Biden said, “every American deserves the dignity and respect that comes with the right to union organize and collectively bargain. The policy of our government is to encourage union organizing, and employers should ensure their workers have a free and fair choice to join a union.” Work opportunities for union members passed and signed in the last two years include:

  • Bi-partisan infrastructure plan - $1 trillion dollars to fix our roads, bridges, airports, ports. Creates work opportunities and good union jobs for all communities, including 175,000 construction jobs per year.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act creates good-paying union jobs that will help reduce emissions across every sector of our economy.
  • CHIPS and Science Act will lower costs, create jobs, strengthen supply chains, and counter China.

Michigan, for the first time since 1984, will have Democrats in control of all three chambers. We hope to see some of the anti-worker, anti-union policies reinstated in Michigan such as right to work for less, bringing back prevailing wage and project labor agreements.

We have many races this spring. Some of the highlights include:

  • Re-electing DC 7 endorsed Candidate Cory Mason for Racine Mayor
  • Electing a pro-worker Judge for Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Electing pro-worker candidates at all local levels

I feel very fortunate to be a member of our union. Without our union, I personally would have struggled. I was a person who had no direction out of high school, just a great work ethic. I know my story is no different than many folks. I believe it is important to reflect from time to time. Thank you for being the best craftworkers in the industry, it is truly an honor to advocate on your behalf!

In Solidarity,

Andy Buck

Update from Adam Holmes

In January 2022, Business Manager Jeff Mehrhoff asked me to set some goals for the Apprenticeship Department. Now that 2022 is behind us, I wanted to take a moment to review those goals and see which ones were accomplished and which ones weren’t. Here is a review of the goals that were accomplished, and a couple things that weren’t goals last January but were finished anyway:

  • Our 2 Glazier Apprenticeship Committees have been merged together. The new committee is now called the Wisconsin Glaziers Joint Apprenticeship Committee.
  • We successfully pulled the last apprenticeship program away from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), the Milwaukee Painter program, setting the stage for accreditation.
  • The Exhibit A’s for all of our Wisconsin Programs have been redone and approved by the State Committee and all of the local Apprenticeship Committees. We have now moved away from the Hybrid programs and back to Time-Based programs. We feel that this change will benefit both the apprentice and the contractors.
  • Our Industrial Paint Apprenticeship saw its first apprentices enrolled in the program as well as its first semester of classes this past fall.
  • We passed an audit of our Apprenticeship Program in Gladstone in August by Michigan’s Department of Labor. Even though we passed the audit, we are still working to make the program in the UP better.
  • We have renamed and rebranded the apprenticeship department and as of February 1, 2023 we will no longer be called the IUPAT DC7 Apprenticeship Fund. We will be called the Western Great Lakes Finishing Trades Institute. This is in preparation for submitting our Initial Candidacy for Accreditation with the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Please check out our website at www.wglfti.com.

We fell short on the following, but made progress on:

  • Holding a CCA/NACE audit for our Big Bend/Gladstone facilities. This is needed for our training centers to be certified by NACE to hold classes and exams when needed. We are trying to schedule this for the week of February 20, 2023.
  • Filing our initial Candidacy Application for Accreditation with the COE. Our biggest holdup with this was the pending merger of the Apprenticeship Trust Funds. The merger has been approved by both funds and will be official as of February 1, 2023. We are working on the initial application, and it should be ready to submit by the COE’s April deadline for their June 2023 meeting and conference.

In addition to finishing the items listed above, we are also working on a new classification of apprentice program with Wisconsin’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) in 2023.

We also would like to update the Apprenticeship Standards for both Michigan and Wisconsin in 2023. They have not been updated in Michigan since 2017 and Wisconsin since 2011. If possible, the standards should be looked at and updated every 5 to 10 years so we are right on time for Michigan and late for Wisconsin.

Update from Dan Martin


District Council Seven Organizing Department is pushing for radical labor movement in 2023.

Currently, DC7 Organizing has five ongoing industry campaigns encompassing the glazing, commercial paint, industrial painting, and drywall finishing sectors.

The Organizing Department is working in conjunction with the Servicing, Communications and Political departments to undertake a council-wide, top-down contractor outreach campaign and a Top Tier Talent worker education campaign.

Our focus this year is primarily on worker-driven campaigns, including:

  • Building worker organizer committees
  • Uniting workers around common concerns
  • Helping workers get over the fear of the boss
  • Breaking barriers of mistrust for unions
  • Empowering workers to take action and build out internal election campaigns
  • Escalate workers voices and demands.

We look forward to implementing Advocacy Mobilization and Organizing at DC7 in 2023 and beyond.

For more information on campaign advancement, please feel free to reach out to us.

Dan Martin

Update from Brian Baumgartner

One of the best parts of my job is being able to travel around the state to all the different projects and talk to the members. I have seen the highest quality of workmanship being done in an unprecedented amount of time and in the safest way possible. You consistently demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and you put them on display every day. The work that you do doesn’t go unnoticed. I believe that we have one of the best workforces around, and that is a direct result of what you do and the work ethic you have.

The amount of work to be done across the state continues to grow and so does the number of quality tradespeople needed to do it. Thank you to everyone that has been taking continuing education and safety classes - you all have stepped up to the plate and we have noticed an increase in class attendance. Your commitment to safety and training is what continues to push the advancement of our trade. Apprenticeship numbers have also increased. In these times of labor shortages, we continue to find young men and women that are interested and willing to learn our crafts. These apprentices are the future of our great UNION!! Work Safe!!

Milestone Anniversaries

Congratulations to all the DC7 members who have milestone anniversaries this month.

Helping Hand and Employee Assistance Programs

  • Jenni Neduzak

IUPAT takes mental health and substance abuse seriously. We are committed to finding help for anyone who needs it.

“Work-related stress can have severe impacts on mental health and without proper support may lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” stated Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “Workers in construction face many work-related stressors that may increase their risk factors for suicide, such as the uncertainty of seasonal work, demanding schedules and workplace injuries that are sometimes treated with opioids.”

The staff at IUPAT DC7 have taken a training in Mental Health First Aid and are prepared to help members who are in need. All members who have insurance through the Health Funds are covered with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The phone number should be on the back of your insurance card. The EAP is available to employees and family members residing in your household. Call for assistance with:

  • Relationship Issues/divorce
  • Workplace concerns
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Parent/child problems
  • Financial pressures
  • Legal consultation
  • Difficulty with school/peers
  • Elder care/child care
  • Balancing work & family
  • Locating resources

The EAP is a free, confidential benefit. If assistance is needed beyond the scope of the EAP, you will be referred to appropriate resources. Your privacy is protected in accordance with both federal and state laws regarding mental health and medical treatment records.

Retiree Club Meetings

Remember, meetings for IUPAT DC7’s Retiree Clubs happen on the third Tuesday of each month, so make sure you’ve marked your calendars if you haven’t already! The next meeting is on February 21st. As usual, lunch will be served at noon, and desserts are greatly appreciated.