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So We Don’t Have Time For … | Labor Rising
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So We Don’t Have Time For …

Time

Far too often I’m met with, we will attend the Labor Rising program when our schedules permits.

For the most part we had just concluded a discussion of the merits of changing the way we look at market share and yet, we then go back to doing the very activities that are so clearly not working!

Time is the most valuable resource we own as individuals and unions.

Meeting with endless players in the construction world and relying on increasingly stressed relationships to get the job done. And yet every number says that those very activities are contributing to the loss of market share.

So then we have to rationalize to ourselves that the hard work we do, and it is hard work – is working. Every Building Trades or District Council President knows their numbers. Every Local BM know their numbers, and yet will not move to create/make time to look at an entirely new direction of developing market share.

I’m particularly lost on those leaders that are “working on” a long range plan that is based on more of the same failed STUFF! Many of the leaders I talk to feel that they will get the train back on the track if they just sit down and talk/negotiate their way thru building a relationship. And yet they know the numbers & will not move to literally stop doing what so clearly doesn’t work.

In no other arena is this ever the case. Not politics, business, sports or the military – much less our own everyday families is this the case. Not even in the rest of labor is this the case – this is unique to the Building Trades!

So the risk/reward of the situation is to continue to do what is familiar and vested in the culture of the Building Trades, which their isn’t a single number to support that it is working, or – find the time to challenge the culture and failed plan and come attend “OUR” program.

For the first time in the history of the Building Trades we are at record spending levels of construction spending across the board, and we are continuing to lose market share.

Recruiting isn’t ORGANIZING, and until we fix ourselves on signing a CBA with non-union construction companies regardless if they want to or not, we are going to continue to lose market share.

Signing PLA’s in lieu of signing non-union contractors to CBA’s is a long term loser for the trades.

Even with the Feb. 6, 2009, Executive Order 13502, issued by President Obama which encourages federal agencies, on a case-by-case basis, to require project labor agreement (PLAs) on federal construction contracts exceeding $25 million in total cost. 21 states ban their use and approx. 18 are working to ban them. They are concessionary at best, and are much easier to walk away from than a CBA.

Add to that, that on mid to large construction projects the general contractor is being removed from the job and/or bundled with the construction manager. Without the GC on the job who has many CBA’s with the trades, many trades will be left without contractors to work with. This is per a plan by CURT using the construction managers to that and many other ends to reduce/eliminate a union presences.

So the decision is continuing to do what we know in the numbers is failing, and heaven forbid that this is just a market correction of the world economy, OR, take 2 ½ days and attend an entirely different direction of an integrated and structured organizing plan.

Time is no longer on the trade’s side, and something we at Labor Rising wish to give to those unions stuck in a culture that think they have time!

The Building Trades/District Councils are the last fire wall and if they do not call and make time, then on OUR watch, income inequity and the middle class will turn into the working poor in a heartbeat!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising Group

 

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