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Union Organizing & Value on Display –

The Building Trades Department is searching for success stories that showcase the “Value Proposition”. This strategies primary goal is to bring “new” construction end-users to the Building Trades, and also has a mission of increasing work with existing end-users – “net”.

The mark of a leader is critically examining existing strategies to see if they’re working.

Brother Sean McGarvey is looking for feedback which is not political, but actual & measurable regarding increases in market share attributable to Value on Display (VOD). He knows all too well what The Construction Chart Book, 5th Edition  shows, because his name is on it; and The Building Trades Department funds this research – in part. These easy to read & highly sourced charts deal with The Building Trades exclusively.

Clearly demonstrated when we read the actual “net” numbers regarding market share from all sources including The Construction Chart Book; is a continued loss of market share since the inception of the “Value” strategy. This strategy has been the GO 2 Strategy now for more than a decade and every long term number in all economic conditions has showed overall decreased market share.

As the Building Trades Department searches for success stories regarding VOD, this is an excellent opportunity to talk about the ability of the VOD strategy to raise market share – “net”. Brother McGarvey inherited this strategy, which was crafted in good faith then; however this strategy has to be reduced to numbers; and if it can’t get the job done, needs to be handled accordingly.

On 10-13-2013 an example of Value on Display was showcased to help the respective Building Trades Leaders in providing case studies, testimonials, etc. The example used was Boardman Power Plant in Oregon.

Consider the quote from:  Brad Jenkins, Plant General Manager at the Boardman Power Plant for Portland General Electric had this to say about the success of this project:

“Upon initial assessment, this looked to be a 3 to 4 month project. However, due to craft engagement, leadership, workforce agility and collaboration among groups, all working toward a common goal, we reduced the duration to 30 days without an injury. This effort shows the power of an effective alliance partnership.”

This is a well-crafted statement “void” of the role the Building Trades played in this emergency shut-down.  Missing everywhere including their websites, are keywords which would convey to the world, the “value” of union construction.

In this example and thru-out the world of construction are well structured strategies to NOT convey any authority (Value on Display) to The Building Trades – period!  Go to The Construction Users Roundtable website @ and look at the companies they represent, which scroll across the bottom portion of the website.  Click on any of the company’s websites and see if they convey any authority on The Building Trades and the relationship with us. In our meetings they sing our phrases about our training & safety. Find it where it counts, in writing and shared with the world of construction; with their names attached to it, in numbers that raise total hours – good luck!

CURT uses the well-known philosophy of “keep your enemies’ close” until & unless they are forced – not sold, to make a “business decision” by Organized Labor.  If this does not happen, we will be treated exactly as an enemy of profits would expect to be treated.

Take the testimony of executives of Portland General Electric Company and parent company of Boardman Power Plant at THE PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF OREGON regarding Total Compensation. Here is a link to the entire document:  Pay attention to the date, which is before the 4th quarter market meltdown in 2008.

Of interest in this PDF, and it’s on a PDF for a reason – is:

Page 4 – Skilled Trades

Page 5 – Recruitment of Skilled Trades

Page 8 – Long term non-bargained & bargained employees

Page 9 – wage model

Page 10 – CIP-13

Read entire document for context. This is their statements 5 years ago & evolving corporate strategy.

Most CURT Companies use these types of vehicles such as testimony and others to continually erode union market share; as well as wages, benefits & conditions and ultimately any relationship with unions. Any notion that they are a cooperative entity is not borne out in any number – anywhere! They meet with us endlessly and all the while, erode hours and market share; and then call us partners.

Good bye to the middle class & hello working poor – unless Labor stands tall & gets in the fight!

Unions are always duty bound to look at cost and conditions and be at the table. However the prism we should be looking through includes a living wage, benefits & conditions.  Our job is to monopolize the skills of the work force vs. competing entirely on costs – thereby facilitating “The Race to the Bottom”!

All of us in the Building Trades want to see a strategy that increases market share. The “net” numbers clearly show that real success stories are elusive at best, because if we really had the success, the numbers would reflect that!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Combat Organizing College

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