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Sheep, Wolves & Sheepdogs –

In the movie American Sniper – Chris Kyle’s dad teaches his children about the differences of being a sheep, wolf or sheepdog. His father can take peace in knowing that his son was an excellent Sheepdog that protected the troops and adhered to the oath he swore.

It reminded me that the Labor Movement was once made up entirely of Sheepdogs (leaders) many decades ago, and in doing so brought forth the middle class and the benefits that many countries and businesses enjoy when there is a middle class.

The Sheepdogs’ whole mission is to protect the Sheep (workers) from the Wolves (big $$).

So where have the Sheepdogs in the Building Trades gone? Now for almost 4 decades the Wolves have been able to prey on the Sheep with little to no interference; and yes even collaboration from our supposed Sheepdogs. The density and market share numbers overwhelmingly say the Sheepdogs are nowhere to be found.

Our Trades have not had a Sheepdog for a long time now, but rather our leaders have just been mere Sheep that have found a way to insulate themselves from the Wolves by giving up the rank & file Sheep along the way. Political Sheep – maybe the most dangerous kind!

Political Sheep insulate themselves with title, pay, additional benefits, perks of every type, entourages and wannabes, Man of the what-ever award, yes men who are loyal to a fault to an individual and not the movement. The oaths they took are to be rationalized & used as filler in rah-rah speeches. They insulate themselves with the hard work and sacrifices of decades of hard work from the legacy of true leaders (Sheepdogs) that left them a grand movement, and now only a carcass remains, which they feed on.

In insulating themselves, and in order to not become the Wolf’s food themselves – they have long abandoned labor activism, unrest and defending workers, union or not – which balance the scales of labor & capital in a capitalistic society. It is done because the Wolves (CURT) insist on it and so it is complied with because these political Sheep have no spine.

Collaboration, sales pitches and endless power meeting that go nowhere fast have been the order of the day, for now 2 plus decades, with the very Wolves (big $$) that generations of earlier Sheepdogs protected us from! When & where in a capitalistic society have the Sheep & Wolves ever been able to sit down and work together & the Sheep not been eaten? Our political Sheep somehow think that the Wolves can change their DNA – the numbers continue to be crystal clear that the Wolves of construction remain true to their DNA.

These political Sheep are very astute and play Sheep against Sheep, threaten Sheep’s livelihoods, remove budding Sheepdogs from their pastures, brand those Sheep that speak up as Black Sheep. Before a rank & file Sheep is branded a Black Sheep – he or she is given the talk. There are a few different versions, however it generally goes something like this. “You are a very fine Sheep with lots of potential to help the Sheep in your pasture. If you would only play ball – you will go a long way. If you reject this, you are branded a Black Sheep and only many Sheep banding together in the face of retaliation can put you and the Sheep in your pasture on the path of becoming a Sheepdog.”

Here is a link to the first of a series of Rank & File Newsletter circa 1993 that were written in advance of our 100 year International convention in 1996.!4543&authkey=!ABjJ30KcyGpNgaM&ithint=file%2cpdf

The Building Trades are stuck in time because this could have been written today – the Building Trades has not only not moved forward – it continues to regress in density and market share.

We regress because we Sheep fear losing a check which we have come to believe is benevolently granted or is a result of our skills. Many Sheep in our combined pastures think we are the only Sheep around, when numbers overwhelmingly say differently.

The National Building Trades annual meeting in April will be here soon – will Sheep continue to put the feedbags on – to be fattened and fed to the Wolves? Or will Sheepdogs appear in our ranks again – committed to an oath they swore in defiance of the status quo?

Will the Sheep get past the complaints they post on Facebook and become activists of their own futures and forge their own legacies?

The political Sheep with grey hair will leave the pasture barren. Only with the courage and activism of Sheepdogs, along with the renewed spirit of labor’s Rank & File, will the grass be renewed for Sheep yet to graze.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny Caliendo
Organizer/Black Sheep
Labor Rising Group

P.S. – those that are afraid to post a like and/or comment either pro or con are exactly the type of sheep that are victims to the wolves.

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