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Vegas Baby! (Labor College)

Most brothers and sisters, when asked if they won in Vegas, say that they “broke even” or “made some money”.

If that were the case, Vegas would cease to exist or at least not thrive.

Labor Combat Organizing College’s (Labor College) point is that many in Organized Labor continue to say that they are “breaking even” in market share. Some even insist that they “raised market share and density.” Looking at a true composite of market share over the last 25 years using numbers provided by Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Users Round Table, The Bureau of National Affairs, Associated Builders & Contractors and CockShaws shows that union labor is at approximately 8.7% in the private sector in 2012, and a little higher in construction.

The numbers clearly show that the Building Trades are co-operating and marketing ourselves right out of existence.

I often wonder what our forefathers, who in many cases are our own family members, would think of our numbers and how we spin them.

Critical and not political evaluation of an organization is of vital importance for growth. So simply stated either our organizing strategies or the people implementing those organizing strategies need to be changed.

So let’s evaluate that statement?

On the people side of the equation are those charged with organizing which are essentially all union leadership and really, membership too?

What is germane to this evaluation is that throughout the width & breathe of the Building Trades, we are to accept that all individual and combined actions of hundreds, if not thousands of unions have not been able to increase market share. So with every combination of existing strategies and tools working in every possible combination, the Building Trades collectively have not raised market share. Again, with the sheer numbers and combinations, combined with hard working leaders – working to solve a difficult issue, our collective market share numbers continue to fall. That is pure BS, and the numbers do not support it!

So I would submit that the numbers state that the leadership has put the work in, and in fact demonstrated that it is not the people side of the equation!

So let’s examine the strategy side of the equation.

Bottom-up in construction, as a strategy to raise market share is a failed strategy, and has been for 2 plus decades. NLRB reports that when we win an election, that we win 1 in 7. That’s 14% which is higher than our existing market share. However, the election is only one in many steps. When we win, you have to get an initial contract. Veteran Organizers will attest to that very difficult task. “IF” you get a contract, the percentage is approximately 45% that the contract will be up for a de-cert vote in 1 year. Bottom-up is NOT a strategy, but rather a tool for construction. It has a place primarily with fab/production shops.

Top-down as a strategy has also NOT produced an increase in market share for the last 25 years. Approximately the time it has been used. By the numbers, top-down and the more enhanced business proposition of value-added used since 2002 has done little more than hold market share (which was low) through 2006; and has in fact lead to a quicker decline in market share since 2007. If you also add in the fact that our combined Build Trades unfunded pension liabilities will also retard any top-down/value-added initiatives. Bottom line is NO non/anti-union contractor is voluntarily signing our CBA!

I have been to 9 anti-union seminars host by Jackson-Lewis, The Burke Group and others and will report that the anti-union contractors use our marketing initiative’s to scout us, and see what type of leaders are visiting them. So for example a new BM, Organizer, Building Trades Officer, District Council Officer etc., is scouted for how they present themselves and their union. The anti-union contractors can also use the subterfuge of co-operation in many ways to delay working with us. One that I see often is when a union leader finally realizes that the value-added approach is not producing any real, measurable results other than endless meetings.

The union leader then embarks on a concerted activity only to hear from the anti-union contractor which is targeted; “bro I thought we were working together”?

So to summarize, for the past 25 years, any and all combinations of all available strategies and tools used by hard working intelligent leaders have not produced an increase in market share.

It is left to the reader, is it the people or the strategies?

The numbers would overwhelming state that it’s the strategies.

The definition of insanity is – “doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result”.

LaborCombat™ & TechCombat™ are stand-alone completely independent strategies which reflect 3 ½ years of comprehensively studying what we currently do vs. what we need to evolve to, to decisively raise market share. (Labor College)

In my upcoming Blogs, we will deal with image of the Building Trades and how LaborCombat™ & TechCombat™ can and will change market share. (Labor College)


Danny L Caliendo

Senior Organizer/Founder

Labor Combat Organizing College – Like us on Facebook – Follow us on Twitter




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