Tony McGarvey wins Brooklyn Park City Council Special Election

Tony McGarvey
Tony McGarvey

DC 82’s director of government affairs, Tony McGarvey, is now Brooklyn Park’s newest city council member, promising a fresh wave of worker representation and forward momentum.

Right from the outset of his campaign, Tony showed his constituents that he shows up for them in meaningful ways. He attended local events to truly listen to their concerns and top issues – and to understand what his neighbors needed from their city council.

We need leaders who promote public policies that benefit working people and ordinary families, making sure our rights and safety are protected on the job and in our communities. Leaders of principle, like Tony, understand from first-hand experience the challenges working people face.

Strong unions help our elected leaders focus on the issues that matter to us, like fair pay, good benefits, and a voice on the job.  With corporations looking to increase their bottom line, we need elected leaders who prioritize safeguarding job rights and safety. Their firsthand understanding of workplace challenges ensures they can create fair regulations, promoting equity and empowerment. 

We need working people’s voices to be heard at all levels of government. By supporting these leaders, voters directly influence policies that shape better working conditions and more just communities and societies.

In addition to his strong positions on workers’ rights, McGarvey ran a platform to address affordable housing, the city’s hard water problem, and common-sense upgrades to local transportation.

On Tony’s campaign website, he said,

I am running because Democracy is not a spectator sport. This concept that we all hold dear begins right here at the city level."

Tony received 82 percent of the votes.

A heartfelt congratulations from all of us at DC 82, Brother McGarvey! We look forward to working with you to support working people in Brooklyn Park.

FTIUM: Where we came from, where we’re going

2023 FTIUM Grads
2023 FTIUM Grads

A long time ago, our employer partners and union leadership shared a vision for what the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest could be. They all agreed on a few things: the school would be a place to train the whole worker, from ongoing skills training, to how to work well on a team, to how to live a fulfilling, healthy life in this demanding industry.

With every graduating class, our employer partners and union leadership watch as the next generation of the best-trained workers walk across that stage as apprentices and walk off into their new lives as journey workers; Workers who are continuously empowered to live out their successful careers just as our school’s founders envisioned. We see you, our partners see you, and our lawmakers see you too.

This past spring, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that stated, beginning in 2024, that apprenticeship program graduates must make up at least 30% of the workforce at oil refineries. In 2025, it goes to 40%, 2026, 60%. How does this apply to the finishing trades, you might ask?

The Minnesota Legislature sees workers because we show up and use our voices. Dangerous work must be done with top safety standards. It’s understood that our communities and our workers are relying on schools like ours that train people to safely do their jobs. It’s undeniable that a lack of adequate training can lead to disastrous results. Simply put, having union-trained apprentices and journey workers can be the difference between having a successful project, or having a safety disaster.

So when you think about how you work safely on the job site, I want you to also think about the ripple effect you have. By showing up on that job site every day and performing your work with union excellence and top safety standards, you’re helping to keep workers safe across industries. You’re leading by example, and your example leads to major laws being passed that protect all workers.

What FTIUM’s graduates have managed to achieve by being the best versions of yourselves is beyond what our founders originally envisioned for the school. Because of our graduates, we can look to the future of the finishing trades with so much confidence and hope.

From all the staff of District Council 82, we couldn’t be more proud of our FTIUM graduates. Congratulations once again to the FTI-UM Class of 2023!

Jeff Stark
Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer
District Council 82

National Glazing Infrastructure and Workforce Development Forum at DC 82

Glazing Forum Featured Blog Image

Join us!

National Glazing Infrastructure and Workforce Development Forum at DC 82

When: June 20, 2023, 8 AM – 1 PM 
Where: IUPAT DC 82
3205 Country Drive
Little Canada, MN 55117
  • Vendors & live demonstrations
  • Learn how to max out your Investment Tax Credit by up to 5X with DC 82
  • Meet and exceed prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship requirements
Connect & discuss opportunities brought forth by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Grow your workforce to meet the future demand
  • Learn about the latest industry developments
  • Network with industry leaders

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.


The only time you should be looking down on a fellow member is when you are picking them up.

Brothers and Sisters,

Since the beginning of the IUPAT Helping Hand effort, District Council 82 has been dedicated to developing new strategies to help members struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. This is an ongoing battle for our membership and for those working in the trades.

If you or a loved one needs online or phone assistance, please reach out to DC 82‘s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), TEAM Wellness at Work, directly at 1-800-634-7710, or go to their website,

As your Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, I am fully committed to providing helpful resources and education to our members and their families. That’s why we pioneered the FTIUM Care Team – so you can receive the support you need and deserve.

The individuals who make up the FTIUM Care Team are responsive, trained counselors who can help if you’re in a tough mental spot. They can also evaluate your specific situation and refer you to an in-network, qualified provider or an accredited facility. All communication with both the FTIUM Care Team and ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­TEAM Wellness at Work is strictly confidential.

There’s strength in talking about our emotions and experiences even though it can feel uncomfortable. Pushing down these tough feelings can make it even harder for us to get on a path to healing and recovery in the long run.

The first step to reducing harm is not being afraid to address it.

We’re here, we care, and we want to help.

Please take advantage of these services. In our union, we’re here to support each other and our families.

In solidarity,

Jeff Stark

Women In Construction Week 2023

Chanay Huff Commercial Painter

Chanay Huff

Commercial Painter

When did you realize you wanted to work in construction? 
I realized about two years ago that I was interested in being in construction.

What’s your current job? What does it entail? 

I spent my first 10 months having basically no real knowledge of what I’m doing when it comes to commercial painting, so I started at material running and learning small patches, eventually learning how to spray rooms as well as metal doors and operate new machinery. I also got to be a part of the touch-up crew going around and doing the finishing touches.

When was the last time you can recall feeling brave at work, or conquering a fear? 
My first time operating a sprayer was really nerve-racking. I was shown how to use it, and it was definitely a bit intimidating at first, but after a bit I got the hang of it. It wasn’t so bad

Grecia Palomar

Grecia Palomar


What are some of your long-term goals?
My long term goal is to keep growing in my career, as I have great passion for what I do. My wish is to further my education and become a role model for generations to follow.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry? Do you think more young women should consider the trades?
I believe all young ladies should consider a path in the trades. It has become more inclusive, and it’s a place where you gain confidence and find pride in your work. I would advise all my young ladies entering the trades to go for it, to join, to participate, to show up, to grow and to be fearless. I believe that we are all capable of doing the work if we show up and are willing to learn. I say pick up the tools and don’t believe anyone who tells you this is a man’s world, and you don’t belong.

How has being a union member contributed to your professional success? Personal?
Being a union member has helped me obtain certifications and training I would have otherwise never received. I was able to complete and graduate with my apprenticeship which in turn helped me acquire my Associates Degree. I have been able to grow my career within my union and continue my path towards my bachelor’s degree. This union has given me confidence and support allowing me to push forward and offer my two boys a better future on my income alone. My life would not be the same without this career and the opportunities this union has offered. I am so blessed to be a part of something so great.

Hannah Johnson Painter Local 681 Rochester Pompeii Painting

Hannah Johnson

Painter, Local 681 Rochester Pompeii Painting

What is your favorite type of project to work on and why?
My favorite project to work on would probably be spraying and backrolling walls or just spraying anything. I find it fun and relaxing at the same time. 

How has being a union member contributed to your professional success? Personal?
I think being in the union so far has shown me how much we offer and how you can grow as well. Everyone supports everyone in some way. It can be very inspiring.

What do you think is the most important personal quality of someone in this industry?
You have to have a strong work ethic, attitude, and be a good colleague to make the job run smoothly.

Krista Ferris Drywall Finisher Local 386

Krista Ferris

Drywall Finisher, Local 386

How long have you been working in the trades? What were you doing before?
I have been working in Local 386 for 1 year and 4 months. Before, I was in healthcare assisting vulnerable adults who couldn’t do daily activities by themselves because of their disabilities.

Who do you admire?
I admire the amazing woman who brought me into this trade! Her name is Jo Deppa. I have known her since I was 10. Her family and my family grew up together. She is the very reason I’m in the trades today.

I admire her for the woman she is in the union. She stands up for herself and takes pride in her work and gives her best every day! She has been in the union for 28 years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for a few companies and the knowledge and advice she has given me while becoming a taper has been helpful in doing my work today. I have learned so much from her and she helped me become a better taper. Not only does she push me and guide me, but she shares her knowledge that she has had throughout her years in the union so I can be great just like her.

One thing I’ve learned so far is that everyone will do the job differently, but if you’re working hard and as a team you’ll be just fine! Jo is my mentor/role-model not only on the job but in my life. We have been through some rough times but she has always been there for me. I admire her leadership, hard work, and the woman she is.

As women in the trades, we already have it hard enough. The stereotypes of being a woman doing the job we do is difficult. We’re judged, looked at differently, or told we can’t do the work. We as women can do anything we set our minds to! As a union member I hope someday I can speak to women of the trades and let them know that no matter your color, race, or beliefs, if you work hard you can do any one of the trades.

How Twin Cities construction workers are accessing free mental health services

Local Painters Union and its training school launch free treatment program for mental health and substance use disorders to members to tackle stigmas, save lives

  • Construction workers have the one of the highest suicide rates of any industry and are 7 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than other workers.
  • To combat this, District Council 82 (DC 82) and Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest (FTIUM) have started the FTIUM Care Team, which will provide their 3,500 union members with access to free counseling.
  • Long-standing cultural stigmas surrounding mental health care often prevent workers from seeking help when in crisis. As part of its program, the FTIUM Care Team is launching mental health first-aid courses to help men in construction notice signs of crises before they happen
FTIUM Care Team logo

LITTLE CANADA, MN – To address the high suicide and substance misuse rates in the construction industry, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82 (DC 82) and the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest (FTIUM) are giving painters, drywall finishers, glassworkers, glaziers, and more, increased access to life-saving mental health services, substance use counseling, health consultation and more critical resources through a new program called the FTIUM Care Team.

Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest students and seasoned workers will all have access to this unique employee assistance program aimed at educating members, reducing stigma and encouraging craftworkers to seek help in times of crisis. The union hopes to not only prevent suicide among workers, but to help them live mentally healthy lives.

“Our goal is to encourage workers to ask for help when they need it and stop the stigma around mental health that pervades the construction industry,” said Jennifer Stanek, MS, PA-C, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director at TEAM Wellness at Work. “DC 82 members can come to us right here at the training center and union hall. It’s a familiar place to them, and that alone helps members feel more comfortable asking for help.”

In the male-dominated field of construction, those who do seek help often fear teasing and emasculating bullying from their peers. This deep-rooted stigma surrounding mental health has proven to be deadly, in Minnesota and nationally. The shame connected with talking about issues such as depression has led to an extremely high suicide rate among construction workers, especially men. About 53 out of 100,000 workers take their own lives.

In addition to providing services, the union hopes to change the culture on job sites, equipping workers with the tools to spot warning signs of crisis among their coworkers. The union’s school has started a four-hour course called Changing the Culture of Construction, which is open to all 3,500 members and takes place after work hours. The coursework gives workers tools to develop compassion and empathy. They learn ways to initiate tough conversations that can save lives and help get each other the healthcare they need through the FTIUM Care Team.

DC 82’s Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, Jeff Stark, said, “Our main goal has always been to help our workers succeed. We’ve seen that professional success isn’t only about showing up to work, learning skills, and getting paid. It’s about building a culture of support and wellness that helps members and their families in the long term.”

“What makes FTIUM and DC 82 different is that we create spaces for workers to be their whole selves,” said FTIUM’s Director of Academic Education, John Burcaw. “Some of our workers are starting to wake up to our industry’s historical toxic masculinity and how it hurts them and their peers. They’re beginning to recognize the immense strength that comes with talking about your struggles. We’re proud to be part of this important shift in the construction industry.”

A 2022 Holiday Message from Jeff Stark

Brothers and Sisters,

With the new year comes an opportunity to move forward with renewed purpose. Without the support of our members, DC 82 would not be where we are today. 

In 2023, let us continue to make strides by investing in our communities, organizing the unorganized, and giving workers everywhere access to good wages and benefits to raise a family and retire with dignity. 

Happy Holidays from everyone at the District Council. Thank you for being a part of our Union family. I wish all of you a New Year full of health and blessings.

Jeff Stark
Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer
IUPAT District Council 82

Apprenticeship programs can break down barriers and build bridges

Kailee Schminkey of Elk River always imagined a college degree as her pathway to a great career. She started out as a nursing assistant and personal care attendant—a job she loved—but soon realized she’d never earn enough to put herself through college. With Minnesota student debt adding up to a staggering $29 billion, loans didn’t seem like a viable option.

So Kailee chose a nontraditional but financially pragmatic approach instead, taking her dad’s advice and following him into the finishing trades as a painter. She applied to the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest (FTIUM), and thanks to our union’s apprenticeship program, Kailee will earn her Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technologies degree from one of the best finishing trades colleges in the country. 

Instead of racking up student debt while she earns her degree, she is bringing home a paycheck from one of Minnesota’s top employers, and has an on-ramp to getting her bachelor’s degree at a top-rated university where she’ll have little to no student debt.

Here’s how it works: If a student is ready to start their apprenticeship, they’ll begin their paid training program. If they need a leg up before starting their apprenticeship, they get five free weeks of Worker Readiness training where they are given the background they need to make a seamless transition into our paid apprenticeship program. After they finish, students can go on to the school’s Associate’s program, where they can access multiple scholarships and financial assistance plans. 

Our state is getting more than $4.5 billion to overhaul crumbling roads and bridges. Over the next five years, about $302 million is expected for bridge replacement and repairs alone. The problem is we don’t have the skilled workforce we need to get the job done. It takes about three years for an apprentice to become an industrial painter specializing in bridge coatings. That means we need to recruit more apprentices like Kailee – and fast.

Our union, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82 (IUPAT DC 82) and FTIUM’s programs can help Minnesota meet both the challenge and the opportunity presented by this federal infrastructure funding. Our program can train the workforce we need to build and fix our roads and bridges.

Kailee’s example demonstrates that our apprenticeship program can tackle another challenge too: registered apprenticeship programs can break down long-standing barriers for women and people of color in an industry that has historically been primarily white and male. When FTIUM first started, we recognized how women and people of color have historically been overlooked during recruitment efforts. That’s why our efforts are focused on welcoming them to our programs. We now boast one of the most impressive diversity rates across the IUPAT. 

At DC 82, we’ve seen firsthand how ramping up efforts to recruit diverse apprentices enhances the effectiveness of our workforce. Our union program beats the state average with about one in five graduating apprentices being women or people of color, but we still have a long way to go. If we’re going to foster the workforce we need, we need to intentionally create new opportunities that will overcome historical disparities. 

If we succeed, we will open doors for thousands previously excluded from lucrative, family-sustaining careers and give them educational opportunities that provide real-world experience that many students can’t get at traditional four-year colleges.

When I asked Kailee about her experience, she told me, “I can do so much more than I could just two years ago. That self-growth is very empowering. I get to meet so many different kinds of people from all different trades, and I always have the opportunity to keep advancing and work my way up. There’s never a finish line. You can always go as far as you’re willing to take it.”

Apprenticeships can break down barriers and build bridges – literally and figuratively. For workers, especially women and workers of color, starting an apprenticeship means higher wages and more opportunities to climb the career ladder they might have never thought possible. For our communities, more apprenticeships mean more taxpayer dollars being put to work to fix our infrastructure and boost our economy. 

While many Americans view traditional four-year colleges as the “gold standard” of higher education, we are encouraging those ready for a life-changing career path to look to Kailee’s example and take the path less traveled. 

Our infrastructure isn’t going to be fixed by folks with traditional four-year college degrees – it’s going to be fixed by folks like Kailee who work hard, get their hands dirty, and get paid to become an expert in their trade. We need the training and support that comes from union-run registered apprenticeships to open up more doors and develop our future workforce.



Jeff Stark is the Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer of District Council 82. District Council 82 provides a voice for almost 3,500 workers in the finishing trades across Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Wisconsin. Our members are trained in a variety of industry needs, including industrial and commercial painting, drywall finishing, glazing, glass work, sign installation, convention workers, silk screen paint making and embroidery. Learn more at

Johnnie Forrest | DC 82 Spotlight

As a retired member of DC 82 Local 106, Johnnie Forrest is one of the few members who has done apprenticeships with both the glaziers and the painters. Johnnie has been a member of DC 82 for 30 years. 

“I’m very fortunate that when I was young, I actually thought about what having a pension would mean for me in the long term,” said Johnnie Forrest of DC 82.

“I’ve always had friends who weren’t considering that, and I’d always try to tell them the value of having that security. Now, they look at me and say, ‘Man, John, I wish we’d have listened to you.'”

Entering the union at a young age, your health and retirement benefits isn’t the first thing on your mind – but it makes a huge difference in your life. It’s a great opportunity to build a career, gain access to life-changing health benefits, and create a comfortable lifestyle for your future.

Some of the most meaningful benefits of DC 82 membership include being able to pay off your home, build a retirement plan, and enable you to enjoy life without financial worries. When you get older, you don’t have to keep working, because all the hours of work you put in when you were that young kid not needing your pension comes back around for you. 

“So many people have family members that I know that are still working into old age now that wish they had invested sooner,” said Johnnie. “With my health benefits, my first heart procedure was $86,000. My part of that was only $1,400 from being a union member.”

Johnnie’s story is just one of thousands that show the difference joining a union can make in your life. Thank you, Johnnie for your years of service, and enjoy your well-earned retirement!