President of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to speak

April 10, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kenneth Rigmaiden, general president of the more than 160,000 member International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), will deliver the Penn State School of Labor and Employment Relations’ 27th annual Philip Murray Memorial Labor Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, in 121 Sparks Building.

Topics Rigmaiden will address in his discussion include race issues within the union, generational barriers, changes in technology, social issues, breaking barriers, organizing within the immigrant community, representing various differences on the political spectrum, and the new generation's views on unions. This is an open lecture and members of the public are invited to attend.

“We are honored to welcome President Rigmaiden to Penn State to speak about crucial issues facing today’s labor movement,” said Paul Clark, director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. “As someone who has spent his long career advocating for working people, he is well aware of the challenges that the changing nature of work poses for those who want to build a more fair and just economy. His talk should be of great interest to the University and surrounding communities.”

Founded in 1887, the IUPAT represents a growing force of men and women in the United States and Canada who work in the finishing trades, including industrial and commercial painting, drywall finishing, glazing and glass work, and much more. They are committed to giving back to the communities in which they live and work. Their mission is to fight to maintain affordable housing in urban development, end income inequality and its effect on their industry; lobby for industry standards to protect the environment; and building campaigns to fight discrimination and promote civil and human rights. 

Prior to his current role as general president, Rigmaiden served for 11 years as the executive general vice president for IUPAT, as general administrator of the International’s affairs, coordinated national union meetings and conferences. He also served as the national project coordinator for the IUPAT Job Corps Program that oversaw nearly 60 instructors throughout the United States and administered U.S. Department of Labor contracts of approximately $6 million annually. 

Rigmaiden holds degrees from California State University in San José and the George Meany/Antioch University, now known as the National Labor College, in labor studies. He serves as a trustee on the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust and is a member of the board of directors of several AFL-CIO constituency and allied groups.

For more than 75 years, the mission of the School of Labor and Employment Relations has been to make workplaces better through teaching, research and outreach.

From its beginnings as an extension program with a small, part-time staff of adult education specialists, the program has grown to an internationally recognized academic department with 29 full-time faculty, nine staff members, 350 residential majors, 55 residential graduate students and more than 1,500 part-time online students. The school has more than 3,500 alumni working in a range of capacities for labor unions, national and multinational corporations, small businesses, government and nonprofits. Its Alumni Program Board was the first such group organized in the College of the Liberal Arts and has remained a leader among departmental alumni groups at Penn State.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 10, 2019