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International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

The following information is provided as a general overview/guideline and it subject to change. Information as to earnings and benefits should be verified with the trade office in your geographical area as it can vary from province to province.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
1750 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006

Top Officer:
James A. Williams, General President

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) represent a growing force of over 140,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada. IUPAT's members work in the finishing trades as painters, drywall finishers, wallcoverers, glaziers, glass workers, floor covering installers, sign makers, display workers, convention and show decorators, and in many more exciting occupations. Tradesmen's skills are in high demand at every construction project in North America. The IUPAT membership extends beyond far beyond the workplace, however. Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labour movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers' rights that benefit all working families, and through effective and aggressive political mobilization.

What do Painters Do?

  • Painters remove and apply protective and decorative coatings to homes, office buildings, bridges, factories, ships and other structures.
  • Drywall Finishers apply multiple coats to sheet rock to prepare it to be painted or have other decorative finishes or materials applied.
  • Glaziers (Architectural metal and glass workers) fabricate and install aluminum and glass storefronts, doors, windows, and curtain systems and other related products.
  • Floor and Decorative Covering Workers install all resilient, carpet and floor systems either as a decorative covering or topping in residential, commercial or industrial settings.
  • Sign and Display Workers make signs which are designed for advertising - both standard billboards and more complex, lighted billboards. They also set up and dismantle the display booths which are used to provide information at trade shows.

What is a Painters Apprenticeship Program?

All apprenticeship programs incorporate skills training with safety and health training. Apprentices are taught about the International Union of Painters and Allied Crafts (IUPAT) and how the union operates. All apprentices are paid and receive regular raises during the course of their apprenticeship. Sign and Display workers have a two-year apprenticeship, Painters, Drywall Finishers and Floor Coverers participate in a three-year apprenticeship, and Glaziers have a four year apprenticeship.

How much will I earn?

You earn while you learn the trade. Union journeymen Painters wages and fringe benefits are negotiated on their behalf by the union through collective bargaining with signatory contractors. Some apprenticeship programs partner with community colleges to offer college credit for apprenticeship classes.

Wages vary according to the geographic location of the local union. The average starting wage for 1st year apprentices is 40 - 50% of the Journeyman's wage rate plus fringe benefits. Your earnings are adjusted annually to reflect your advancing skills and increasing knowledge of the trade.

What type of work will I do?

IUPAT members work in one or more of several crafts: painting, wallpaper hanging, glazing (glass work), drywall and taping, floor covering, and sign and display work. Painters and paperhangers work in industrial, commercial and residential settings, from bridges and ships to interior walls of office buildings and homes. Drywall finishers tape, fill in and smooth seams in sheets of drywall. Glaziers prepare and install various kinds of glass, mirrors, metal framing and doors/entrances to buildings. Floor coverers work with resilient floors, as well as carpet and decorative coverings. Exterior sign and display work, like billboards, is another choice. Other types of work are convention display and show decorators.