As Unemployment Among Native Americans Soars, Union Offers A Path To A Better Life

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Welding training for Native Americans leads to apprenticeship and meaningful employment with benefits and decent wages through union program.

This is the right thing to do for this group of Americans.

Unemployment among Native Americans can range from 15 percent to the staggering rate of 85 percent in some areas of the United States. The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters, Welders and HVACR Technicians (UA) has stated that such high rates of joblessness—the highest of any other group in the country—is simply unacceptable.

Delegates to the UA’s convention August 8-12 in Las Vegas will consider a resolution to expand its own Native American outreach effort into other unions of the building trades. The UA and its partners—the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the Department of Labor—provide training and a path to a career and meaningful employment in an effort “to help Native Americans learn a skilled trade and obtain gainful employment that helps them break free from the terrible cycle of high unemployment and extreme poverty.”

“We have good relationships with Native American tribes,” said UA General President Bill Hite, “and we look forward to expanding this program into more areas. This is the right thing to do for this group of Americans who deserve their shot at the American dream—and membership in the UA will give them that shot.”

Similar resolutions calling for action across the board on issues of importance to working families will be addressed at the convention, which will be held at the Paris Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Delegates will hear from numerous speakers, including political strategist James Carville, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CNN commentator Donna Brazile, and Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina, as well as members of Congress, governors and industry figures.

The United Association was founded in 1889 and is a multi-craft union. UA members are engaged in the installation, fabrication and maintenance of all piping systems. The UA serves as a collective voice for approximately 347,000 members in more than 300 individual local unions across the U.S. and Canada. There are thousands of employers and contactor groups who employ UA members throughout North America.

***Media instructions: Any media wishing to cover the convention, which will be held at the Paris Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, should contact Rick Terven, 410-269-2000. After August 4, media should contact Genie Ford, 703-298-7664, onsite contact during the convention.


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United Association
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