Our History: The 1890s

December 1899: 7th Biennial Convention of the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America.


Our union, like many modern labor unions, was founded in the 19th century to set standards for uniform compensation in the trades and provide a community for workers to share ideas and solve problems. The Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America was organized formally in 1887. Within a year, the union boasted a membership of over 7,000 tradesmen and more than 100 local unions. These trade unionists soon realized the power that they had together, rather than staying separate and facing their problems alone. Backed by a growing centralized union, these dedicated organizers won victories over oppressive working conditions that were once thought unchangeable.Today, the IUPAT continues to do its part to lift working families and the rest of the middle class by marching to the words of our founders:“Single-handed we can accomplish nothing; but united there is no power of wrong we may not openly defy.”Learn more about the history of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades below.


 

Our History: The 1900s

Officers in the General Executive Boardroom of the Brotherhood headquarters in Lafayette, Indiana, circa September 1903.


1900

Former General Presidents (left to right): Joseph C. Balhorn, (1901 – 1909); James H. Sullivan, (1894 – 1898); John M. Finan (1928 – 1929).


1903-02

Filing Card and Journal Department of the Brotherhood headquarters in Lafayette, Indiana, circa September 1903.


1903-03

Correspondence Room No. 2 at General Headquarters, circa September 1903. The gentleman on the far left has been identified as W. Cook.


1903-4

This union label ad was printed in the 1903 anniversary edition of The Painter and Decorator. The union label is, has, and will continue to be printed on everything this union prints, including our business cards, Constitution, and even the Journal (check the bottom of the table of contents page of the latest issue). We are proud union members, and we have the label to prove it.


1904-01

Paint makers, circa 1904.


1904-02

Paint makers, circa 1904. Colorized for display in the International offices in the late 90s, this photo currently hangs in the General Executive Boardroom with others from its time period.


1908

Did you know that SC Johnson, the fifth-generation family company that makes global household brands including Pledge, Windex and Glade got its start over 126 years ago in Racine, Wisconsin as a small parquet flooring company? They are former sponsors of the Painter and Decorator. Here is one of their ads from a 1908 issue.

 

Our History: The 1910s

Members of Sign and Pictorial Painters Local 820 (Raytown, Missouri) on a horse-drawn float in the early 20th century. This photo was colorized for display in the International headquarters. It currently hangs in the corridor that leads to the executive offices.


1914-01-new

September 7, 1914: Union dignitaries, painters and their families gathered at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore for the dedication of a monument to honor Brotherhood founder and first GST John T. “Jack” Elliott.

Elliot had been buried in an unmarked grave for nearly 12 years before the Brotherhood intervened and provided for a proper resting place for him.

Source: One Union: The History of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, 1887 – 2003


1914-02

September 7, 1914: Brotherhood officers gather at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore for the dedication of a monument to honor Brotherhood founder and first GST John T. “Jack” Elliott.


1918

December, 1918: World War I painters pose for a photograph in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.