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4 Reasons Why the Building Trades Need to Zip It –

Zip it

At some point in time the new International President’s, Building Trades leaders and local leaders of unions need to see the correlation that has existed for nearly 2 decades.

That correlation is simply stated – the more we as the Building Trades engage the end-users, developers, construction managers and general contractors; the more market share we lose. No co-incidence.

Reverse engineer the last 2 decades as we have and it is as plain as day. In our desire to be professionals and collaborate with the above entities, those entities have drawn us in close and extracted every kind of information needed to defeat the trades. And we are all too willing to educate and explain our value anytime and anywhere to our own demise.

What you’ll find down to a nat’s butt is just because we want to collaborate, in no way binds those above entities to do the same. No number in any area of the trades exists in the past 2 decades can dispute this statement. Let’s see:

  1. NLRB – National Labor Relations Board. If the trades are put and kept in this endless loop of BS, then management has only to perpetuate it. The money they spend on labor lawyers is no more than a cost of doing business. The word that puts the NLRB in play is RECOGNITION! Recognition to the trades comes in 2 primary forms, bottom-up and all types of top-down. At the end of the legal day – both types are asking for a CBA – Collective Bargaining Agreement. Management has very little trouble in connecting our actions to Recognition if they so desire in front of the NLRB.


Most of our Organizers/Market Reps think that because they discuss work, training, safety and the value the trades can bring to the non-union contractor – they do NOT fall under the definition of Recognition per the NLRB. They are always wrong when they are enjoined and spending member’s money defending something that cannot be usually be defended. Coercion would be the charge if the non-union wants to press their rights at the NLRB.


  1. Secondary Activities as defined in Section 8b4 under the NLRB. The average well informed member/officer reading this can Google this section of the act. You will then know more than 90% of the Organizers/Market Reps we have worked with. They are not taught this. They are taught basic Labor Law and persuasive speaking in classes they attend, which is exactly why we are getting our butts kicked. What they are also taught in the field is that they can be sued and effectively if we as the trades bring real and actionable pressure directly on end-users, developers, CM & GC’s. Secondary targets!


8b4 is only actionable, which means we in the trades can only be sued “IF” RECOGNITION is established by the non-union world of construction. Because of the endless and continuous meetings, that we have with all the construction players – RECOGNITION is almost always demonstrated. So re-think Labor-Management outside of our own union contractors. Tripartite meetings with respective industries to “UNDERSTAND” their needs and many other forms of meetings. And an ENDLESS loop of meetings we have placed ourselves in, all harm us because the other side doesn’t want to collaborate with us – they want to limit us legally and economically. We will discuss how to defeat this endless loop in upcoming Blogs.


  1. Put your non-union hat on – riddle me this. As a non-union contractor would you rather have meetings with the trades under the guise of collaboration or would you prefer concerted activities on your doorstep? The non-union has systematically taught this to the mid and upper level contractors since 2004. The anti-union lawyers hold seminars all over the place – go to one Brother IP and senior leaders and see. Also the non-union links the union to Recognition, learns what type of Organizer/Market Rep they are dealing with, gets an inside look at our training and safety programs. For the price of a safety award and/or Best Job or Foremen Award from CURT et al – we are trading our careers, pensions and future generations of Building Trades jobs away on the cheap.


  1. Being played – the non-union increasingly only hires the trades for 3 things. Time sensitive jobs. High density of skills needed on the job. To fix the non-union screw ups and punch list items. Why the trades are fixing the non-union jobs screws up and then being shown the door is just plain stupid. We don’t even have the juice to secure a job from the non-union company that needed us to fix the problems. Let that job go and sustain liquidated damages and loss of revenue due to the job being done on time.


We are also participating in being played by detailing what the tasks to do future jobs look like in detail. On many/most big time jobs our foremen write detailed accounts about every facet of the job broken down to specific tasks. Job site analysts under the BS of safety. More and more around the country anti-union construction managers are being used on jobs historically done by end -users and developers that used to use unions.

All facts if we just look at them without filters and ego.

Each new senior leader thinks they can be persuasive with the “junk yard dogs” of the construction world! ALL have been wrong and the non-union now controls 88% of the work.

We are seeing a systematic transfer of building trades journeypersons and union contractors thru hard core recruitment to the non-union. Retention of our union workers is in the red zone even with record amounts of construction. We are training the non-union and every number demonstrates this.

As part of an overall integrated strategy Labor Rising/Labor Combat instructs on how to defeat being played in this endless loop and win!

So step one in a strategy is to stop talking to everyone about everything; and distill the market called the construction world down to who we talk to and why.

Can’t be get a list and call 20 non-union contractors and get meetings with 5 each week. That overused and nearly 2 decades old strategy is being used against us to beat us – get it!

Time to Zip it!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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