COVID-19 Impact Alert: Updates in Our Industry


Brothers and Sisters,

Our industry has been hit with the effects of natural disasters over the past few weeks, and I want to make sure we are all aware of the situation and how the IUPAT is facing these challenges.

Coronavirus Impacts on Our Industry

By now, you must have seen the news regarding the Coronavirus (also called COVID-19).  The Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As representatives of thousands of workers in the Tradeshow Industry and stewards of our communities, The IUPAT is diligently monitoring the progress of COVID-19 and preparing for any potential impacts on our members. We ask that all members actively practice proper cleanliness and health safety according to guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Coronavirus Potential Impact on Pension Fund | March Market Variables: COVID-19 

The global spread of coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted financial markets worldwide. As questions arise on the future of all markets, the IUPAT wants to assure retirees and participants that our financial experts are monitoring the issue closely and that we do not anticipate any significant fund shortfalls at this time. The pension fund will remain strong in conjunction with the ability of the market to recover by December 2020.

Summary from IUPAT Pension Investment Consultant New England Pension Consultants (NEPC)

Fears of the economic impact of the Coronavirus started to fuel market concern with the large impact that was felt in China and the eventual response to the outbreak. Quarantines and draconian responses from the Chinese government sent fear and uncertainty through the markets as the global economy created concerns about manufacturing in China. For example, Apple has one of its iPhone components produced in the Wuhan province and now anticipates delays in the deliveries. These quarantine efforts will undoubtedly cause supply chain disruptions for many other companies as well.

This uncertainty in markets creates significant volatility. Fears of a global recession are growing every day. NEPC has been talking about the economy being in a late-cycle throughout last year and have stated that following a late-cycle is normally a recession. Our economy has been strong and has continued growing, but at a slower pace. A slowdown due to quarantines and self-imposed travel restrictions could send us into a recession. With this being a global pandemic potentially, it could lead to a global recession. However, NEPC has been worried about the valuation of the markets and with our position in the economic cycle feared the possibility of a recession. NEPC has maintained the philosophy that being diversified is the best thing.

As a result, NEPC has recommended several major asset allocation changes over the past several years in order to further diversify the IUPAT Pension Plan. Specifically, NEPC reduced the Plan’s exposure to Domestic Equity (the S&P 500 is down 8.3% year to date through the end of February), and increased the Plan’s exposure to Real Assets (Infrastructure), Real Estate, Private Debt, and Levered Credit. In addition, the Plan also has a 5% target to hedge funds. These asset classes have a low correlation to equities and therefore can provide protection during volatile/negative periods of the market.

As of the end of February, the Pension Plan’s preliminary estimated year-to-date return is down -3.7%. In comparison, the standard global 60/40 portfolio (60% MSCI ACWI / 40% Barclays Global Aggregate) is down -4.7%. The importance of diversification in the IUPAT Pension Plan’s portfolio is demonstrated during these times of stress and market volatility.

As far as the administration of the plan goes, the IUPAT will continue to ensure normal benefit payments with minimal interruptions should a potential quarantine or temporary office-closure be implemented. IUPAT Benefit office staff will be able to work remotely and continue business as usual. 

As discussed in our recent Pension Tele-town hall, our plans are never immune to recessions, but we are committed to providing our membership with transparency and the most up to date information.

Thank you in advance for your support. For more info visit: 

IUPAT Coronavirus Factsheet March 12, 2020

We will keep you updated periodically through the IUPAT Rapid Action Network. If you have not done so already, members are strongly encouraged to register here

Support: We ask all members to diligently uphold all local and national public safety and health requirements concerning COVID-19. For up-to-date information on COVID-19 please visit the World Health Organization website or visit 

Below are some preventative measures you can take to help reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or with a tissue and throw used tissues into a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaner
  • Stay home when you are sick or showing any symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.  All current leave policies should still be followed.

IUPAT in the News

  • America’s Voice | “50+ Groups Release Letter Asking HFAC to Investigate Report on Termination of TPS After Death of Deported Salvadoran Immigrants”

“Reyna Sorta, TPS Holder and mother of U.S. citizen children, union member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), District Council 51 said, “I am a TPS recipient from El Salvador and member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 51, which is part of Working Families United…” Read more here.

  • Emettsburg Reporter | Initial Union Proposals Exchanged Between Secondary Roads, Sheriff’s Department and County

“The initial proposal of the I.U.P.A.T. included a three and a half percent wage increase beginning July 1, 2020 and continuing for July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022.” Read more here.

  • KUAC | Independent Al Gross Takes On Pension Reform

“At the office of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Al Gross announced his plan to solve the crisis with union pension plans.” Read more here.

In Solidarity,

Ken Rigmaiden, IUPAT General President

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