International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 7 Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Jeff Mehrhoff joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the union organizing climate in Wisconsin.
He also spoke about the Rich Trumka PRO Act and how it would affect unions’ efforts to organize and recent efforts made to bridge the communication gap between union leadership and membership.
Wisconsin unions continue to recruit despite anti-union laws
Wisconsin is led by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is pro-union, but faces challenges from the Republican-led legislature, which remains largely anti-union. Nevertheless, organizing efforts continue amid the difficult climate and numerous laws creating more challenges, Mehrhoff said.
Many failed organizing attempts may have succeeded if the PRO Act became law
Unions in Wisconsin have been pushing for the passage of the PRO Act by calling political representatives and educating the public about how the law would benefit all workers. Mehrhoff said a number of organizing efforts in Wisconsin that ultimately failed may have succeeded if the PRO Act had been law.
Mehrhoff urged the U.S. Senate to come together and pass the PRO Act. In the meantime, he said the labor movement will continue to push Democratic Senators and moderate Republicans to support the measure.
Union leadership struggles to bridge communication gap
Mehrhoff also discussed the communication gap that can exist between union leadership and members. It can be difficult for painters to bridge this gap, but Mehrhoff urged people to remember union leaders are also members who have a stake in the outcome.