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Moneyball & Training –

What do the numbers say and do we listen to them as Billy Beane did, and in doing so changed the entire culture of baseball? Do we continue to advance a value proposition with regard to training in the face of these bullet points?

  1. Since the 08/09 market crash many union contractors who looked like they closed down – either where, or became double breasted and continued working. Many more became work and/or labor brokers. Do you really think they just went away?
  2. The RTW Republicans in the Congress stalled any infrastructure legislation from advancing to starve the Building Trades out, and to eliminate as much work as possible being done union. It also created massive union Building Trades unemployment. Done by design.
  3. The pension crisis has come to a full boil over that time, with the under-funding and loss of hours worked due to the unemployment. In addition the massive unemployment sent those that could retire marginally – into retirement, which has helped spiked the ratio of actives to retirees, putting even more stress on an already stressed system of pensions. The PPA is set to Sunset in December of 2014, which will not be good news for some pensions. Happenstance?
  4. There has been a systematic and ongoing transfer of skilled BT journeypersons to the non-union with the long-standing unemployment (see page 22 of The Construction Chart Book, 5th Edition, and Charts 22a to f) plus they have the work; and this has helped contribute to the rapid rise in 1099’s in construction. That is a big part of why 1099’s are so hard to track, former and current union members working off the radar screen. See page 23 of The Construction Chart Book, 5th Edition, and Charts 23a & 23b. Do you think these 1099’s just materialized out of thin air?

  1. There are approximately 9 – 12 major temp agencies that specialize in supplying skilled trades persons, and one of their main source of workers are unemployed and/or under-employed BT members. These companies are for-profit and if there wasn’t a demand on one side, and as importantly, a supply of skilled trades-persons – they would cease to exist. Business unfortunately is good for them these past few years & currently.
  2. There are at least 3 – 5 full time recruitment agencies which have on-going recruitment of BT skilled labor at the supervisor, estimating and operations level – reverse stripping. Ours was mostly political, there’s is all business.  Also when they hire our former senior people, it is highly likely that some of the relationships they had with mostly union end-users and customers are going with them. All systematic and with a plan.
  3. The recruitment agencies have committed real dollars for the sole purpose of recruiting BT construction leaders, especially in the last couple of years.
  4. The ABC and Tradesmen International have a strategic partnership that was formed this summer. Who in the hell do you think they are going after?
  5. Temp and recruitment agencies are getting their information on Union BT construction professionals in one manner or another from gated and/or controlled construction sites. We and/or our contractors have been supplying them information per job requirements, for several years now on job after job. Past a secure site, why in the hell do they need all that info? Here is a Blog with what we believe encompasses what the research points too. These construction sites are almost all CURT Members – coincidence?
  6. The BT world class training, which is absolutely correct, is available to almost anyone who can use the internet, a fatal flaw when you spend a half a billion in development and curriculum, but do not control, or at least limit its access. Why pay for something you can get for free or get thru some of the bullet points listed above? Factor in the rapid advances in modularization and technology and the value the industry, not the BT places on training is not as high as we had hoped! We are effectively training the non-union!
  7. Finally the trade-offs to get what work we can is almost entirely dependent on the end-users/customers. So we cannot do any sort of concerted activities of any type, without the threat of reprisal from the end-users, construction managers, general contractors and subs. Also tomorrow we will discuss making money on insurance, it’s not because of safety. Our current strategy of collaboration is not suited to getting our work back thru concerted activities, formally known as Organizing! This is one hell of a business decision by the construction users. Essentially the BT has to shut up and do what we are told or else! This is what happens when we don’t monopolize the skills and win the hearts & minds of all workers. Then and only then will they join unions and bring their non-union companies along with them, willingly or not. That is the common denominator between the past and present. Hopefully we will re-learn that before it’s too late.

Brother JC Turner, past General President of the Operating Engineers has been dead balls accurate on what would happen with American Labor and the Business Roundtable if we did not listen to his council in 1979. Here is a link to his White Paper.

In closing and FYI, there is a full Construction Management template that was put in place just waiting to turn this entire strategy of the non/anti-union on its ear. Just saying.

Tomorrow – how safety is a profit center for owners and construction managers and is literally putting union contractors out of business along with our union jobs!

In Solidarity,

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising Group

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