Department of Labor secretary visits Finishing Trades Institute

Walking in their shoes: Thomas E. Perez visited the Finishing Trades Institute training facility in the Far Northeast on May 21. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, paid a recent visit to the Finishing Trades Institute training facility, at 2190 Hornig Road in the Far Northeast.

The facility is the education department of District Council 21, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

The institute represents commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers, glassworkers, industrial painters, wall coverers and multicraft decorators.

During his May 21 visit, Perez toured the facility, conducted a roundtable discussion and met with apprentices and labor and industry leaders such as Joe Ashdale, the District 21 business manager.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for “more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life.”

Perez, 52, became labor secretary last July, winning confirmation in a 54–46 vote of the U.S. Senate. It was the first time in history that a Senate confirmation was decided on a strictly party-line vote. ••