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Solutions – Part 2 of 5 Research – The Building Trades are not good with facts –

Knowledge is Power

When Brother Sean Mc Garvey fails to mention the word Organizing for 3 consecutive National BT Conferences it is not an oversight. He is told not to mention that word by CURT and senior construction management.

That message is conveyed to him by the International General Presidents who don’t want to anger a customer; all very civilly and professionally of course! That customer is CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) and the senior world of construction management. Our IP’s are told not to empower organizing past some fragmented and fleckless bottom-up campaigns with under trained organizers and not to bite the hand that feeds them.

Add to that the transitioning of any former structured organizing to Market Development Reps for now over a decade. We don’t even put Organizing on our cards. We use the impotent phraseology of Market Development Rep acceptable to CURT et al. Now those cards are in transition yet again to the title of Recruiter.

CURT has tremendous power over the Building Trades leadership for some time now, and renders them impotent. Senior BT leadership are in a box of their own design. On one hand if they flex what tiny muscles they have left, they will be squashed like bugs. And on the other hand if they continue to collaborate they are facilitating the BT’s own demise – that is now readily seen and the numbers overwhelmingly confirm this.

Clear and vetted research would confirm these facts – however it would also mandate action by the senior leadership and there loyal to a fault minions – and they are ill prepared for that!

  • With PBGC reporting 144 initial pension plan multiemployer plan insolvencies headed for resolution in the next few plan years, the reported prospects of approx. 500,000 to 700,00 retirees and actives benefits being cut starting next year is a disaster to membership and retirees and a PR nightmare on the management of these funds for the Building Trades. Good luck recruiting when this unfolds!
  • Ongoing and very dedicated recruitment of our best journeypersons to the non-union. The trades are doing all the recruitment and HR to facilitate CURT jobs. We are literally training our competition. The price to get into crack programs, YES – by a non-union worker to a BT recruiter or to the Market Dev Rep and we can’t even recruit then. Membership is not the true measure of Building Trades market share, HOURS are. Many will keep their membership intact while working non-union. The non-union now has more ex Building Trades members working in it than does the union sector. Think of that for a second.
  • Recruitment and retention are the #1 issues that BT leaders are facing today, followed closely by modularization and advances in technology in construction delivery erasing hours.
  • With construction spending now at new record levels the BT are not adding jobs anywhere near the number needed to offset modularization and technology advancements in delivery.
  • Contraction and consolidation of the construction world. When this slows down and levels off at the end of this decade according to construction analysts along with the non-anti/union with approx. 87% of the current workload – someone is odd man out.
  • This along with anti-union sentiment and legislation and the countdown is well underway to an outcome. Either the anti-union contractors are going – or we are!

The trades are betting the farm that recruitment and collaboration will change the bullet points above in some magical way. We are by all accounts becoming nothing more than a temporary hire service common thru-out North America. No structure past a well-worn tale of safety, training and concessionary agreements and classifications all demanded by the very same entity (CURT et al) we expect to reach an accommodation with! No expectation that accommodation will be kept if in place.

No desire to deal on behalf of the membership and workers, union or not – past window dressing.

The commercial markets that are in the last vestiges of union cities are now under attack by developers and construction managers – guess they didn’t receive the memo from CURT.

When the commercial markets contract and consolidates along with non-union pressure in those markets, industrial blue chippers that decreasingly use us less and less union trades “NET” will not be far behind.

This is the tip of the iceberg of research done by Labor Rising and heck we can understand that we may be under credentialed for this assessment. So use any measurement by any entity that has bona fide credentials and see firsthand that this is pervasive and overwhelming.

So past the misplaced confidence in a NON-PLAN that has lost market share from its inception why do we pursue this?

WOW – let’s not go there quite yet – this whole Building Trades MOVEMENT can still be resurrected but it needs leadership and not politicians worried about re-election and the next convention and who’s on what committee! That’s a huge caveat at this point for the BT’s, and history will be very harsh on this point.

Why Labor Rising/Labor Combat came into being is to do just that, confront facts and worry about our own personal consequences whenever. What underpins the development of a Compression Zone(s) is research?

Well we do research – hmmm maybe! I’m quite confident that I know what our respective Internationals capabilities are in research because I’ve done my homework on it. There are 3 types of research in this case needed to win –

  • Complete development of the total construction market with objective, pro-active real time info. We are not talking about the platforms currently out there now that depend on partial, mostly incomplete and mostly historical information that is labor intensive to capture and is nearly impossible to effectively act on in numbers anywhere needed to raise market share. A lot of time and money to record keep and track and it is mostly useless compared to what we are talking about with research for a Compression Zone(s).
  • Research provided for base information from sources such as the internet and from a diverse mix of sources. Those that have some training are often limited in scope and to a preferred provider(s) that contains a partial amount of total information needed to develop effective strategies from. Our market reps aren’t even trained in the different types of credit reports and when and how they can be used along with many other facets of research.
  • Opposition Research – which is “digging the dirt” which is deep research of the type few in the combined BT have knowledge of and even fewer effective use of.

Without first even being aware of these levels of research and then training across the board in their use – we are going nowhere. International staff cannot do this alone and because campaigns are in real time. And only 2 are set up to do hard core Opposition Research. None do market wide research to establish Compression Zone(s).

Enter Rochester Research Associates – we looked long and hard for a researcher with the credentials and especially the very genuine ability to do Opposition Research across all sectors using all sources, delivered at a rate that a journeyperson earns in your local. A train the trainer capability for those that want to expand and advanced training for those very serious about research. Like we stated above, there are very few of these cats around.

Implementation of the research market wide is still a quandary – which leads us full circle with the trades totally dependent on CURT and senior construction management.

Since the trades at the senior level are averse to doing their homework and then do what is needed to implement it, which objective research will point out is substantial amounts of labor unrest 21st century style – why do it in the first place – exactly where we are at now.

The Building Trades if accessed as a patient would be very ill, and by the end of this decade very likely to be on life support unless we change doctors that do the right thing by workers and not by their corporate controlled hospitals.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


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