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The strong correlation between the rich getting richer and the decline of Organized Labor has been evident across all sectors for the past 25 years. In our capitalist society, the balance between labor, management and government is needed to ensure that all have a seat at the table. Management serves a mindless piece of paper called a corporate charter whose religion is profits – pure and simple.

Government regulations and taxes are needed and the debate about the form and reach of those regulations and taxes is healthy. However, government oversight, once agreed to, is tantamount to a lock keeping an honest person honest.

One of the critical components of a free capitalistic society is organized labor. But, Organized Labor has been an oxymoron for the better part of 25 years. It is clear that we have decided to co-operate with our own demise, collaborating with the very institutions that seek to put us out of existence especially in the Building Trades.

Complaining about big money is useless without concerted activity to force management to share the profits. Our strategy for the past 25 years has been an over reliance on politicians on one side, and trying to advance labor’s rights by appeasing and collaborating with big business on the other side. The “let’s not make waves” approach in dealing with these “junk yard dogs” is exactly why we are drowning in the water.

A CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) once was the vehicle that provided labor peace on a job. Brothers & Sisters, very few contractors sign a CBA willingly. Management signs for one of two reasons: either they are forced to do so, or they must in order to gain entry into a CBA controlled market. Since we have very little control over any market, the second reason is dead on arrival.

Only a strong and pro-active labor movement will keep the American middle class in the game. Our approach in dealing with management should be the 21st century version of concerted activity, which would include large doses of civil disobedience and channeling all workers’ outrage into action! Part of our strength lies in our very hands – literally. Structured use of social signals and leveraging the membership. And yes – legal & lawful civil disobedience – with money purchasing laws it has long been the tool that brings attention to laws that are wrong. Think “separate but equal” and Rosa Parks. Civil disobedience at its finest.

If concerned about what impact concerted activity will have on our image, ask most normal independent minded Americans how they feel about organized labor.  The response will not bode well for labor. At the end of the day, Americans like winners and respect those workers with the will & integrity to advance all workers’ lives lawfully!

If we, as Organized Labor, continue down the path of being victims, we will not advance labor’s rights and will see the Middle Class turn into the Working Poor on our watch!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising

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