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Uncertainty in Construction –


Why we can’t win without it, and what it is. It is also why we as tradespersons at the senior leadership level down to executive board members need to learn the discipline of ZIPPING IT!

Think of a political campaign, a military operation, a corporation business plan – a union Building Trades marketing/organizing campaign? What is the differences between the first 3 and the last?

For the first 3, discipline and using information, especially when garnered first hand from the opposition – which helps remove UNCERTAINTY of action going forward. But not for the Building Trades.

Uncertainty of action of whom? End-users, developers, construction managers, general contractor’s, subs.

2 forms of discipline used by the above players – securing information to advance a position and also disciplining oneself from providing actionable info – zipping it!

For over 20 years now the Building Trades in an effort and strategy to increase market share, has in fact, and demonstrated in every number available – collaborated in its own demise.

We as Building Trades Internationals talk/collaborate with every player listed above whenever they demand/want it. At meetings, at industry conferences, at tripartite meetings, at apprenticeship seminars, at safety events and Building Trades meetings of every type.

The world of construction has a high degree of CERTAINTY when dealing with us because we allow it and perpetuate it! We are easy to beat! The notion/myth/hope that this relationship is a win-win relationship is not borne out in any numbers.

What is borne out by the numbers is the world of construction uses us to secure vital information and weaknesses to limit and/or defeat us. What is borne out in the numbers is a systematic transfer of Building Trades members and contractors. What is borne out in the numbers is we do all the heavy lifting in recruiting, training, drug testing, building relationships in the political world, HR and other vital functions of construction as we continue to happily collaborate and lose more and more market share. On the street we would be punks – letting the bully continue to take our lunch money.

What is also borne out in the numbers is the loss of wages, benefits, conditions and the continuing demise of the CBA, Collective Bargaining Agreement.

PLA’s, Project Labor Agreements once thought to be a victory for trades in restoring segments of work are the go 2 vehicles to strip the trades of CBA’s.

And in every industry PLA’s are used, we have a “NET” loss of work, even with back to back years of record construction spending at 1.6 trillion.

And all this is possible because we continue to provide the highest degree of CERTAINTY in construction outcomes to EU, Dev, CM, GC, etc. – translation profits are at record levels and next to zero labor unrest.

So all the International leaders in their fine looking power suits and per the numbers, are being played and for some reason – keep letting it happen. This activity is TAUGHT at the anti-union seminars on how to beat unions since 2004. Go to one and confirm this! We are going to have to talk about this soon.

For those who say well if we don’t collaborate, we will not get ANY work. We have put ourselves in this mindset and reality. Continuing to play the victim and blaming everything and everyone else will just hasten our demise. We have to plan our way out of this situation – which is the content of the next Blogs.

Our response to that is very straight forward – those that say that, have not built out their respective markets and those markets construction relationships.

All work flows through a few main fixed players primarily the developer, construction manager and general. These are known entities along with seeing how they are continuously eroding work in sections of the country and within the trades. Next Blog will delve into how to precisely know how to build that info in approx. 200 to 400 hours.

They are skillfully using non-union against union and union against union and paying pennies on the dollar along with demanding every kind of concession from the trades in years of record construction.

AND… we collaborate with that at every step. We keep thinking they can be educated and just some more time in relationship building is needed. We have market reps and organizers all over the country that now assist a non-union contractor in areas of business operations waiting for a signed CBA that according to numbers happens less than 6% of the time.

Flip that equation and organizers should be trained in how to do research that shows precisely how to create huge amounts of UNCERTAINTY legally and lawfully. The 21st century version of labor unrest.

Questions – what happens to a job that runs past its scheduled completion? What are liquidated damages? What happens when their isn’t a “punk” to fix all the poor work done on a job? What happens when we go to those same meeting and just listen instead of providing solution after solution that the world of construction uses and uses; and while at the same time reduces our work opportunities. What happens if through the use of social signals, we become a “sales engine” for those companies that can demonstrate a consistent use of the trades. What if we strongly influence the clients, credit and perception either positively or negatively once we do our homework of the players in the world of construction.

Learning to ZIP IT is at the heart of learning to win again. This and a ground game and play book.

The open-ended strategy of let’s talk to 20 companies and get meetings with a few approach – now going on 20 years, plays right into the hands of the non-union and those increasingly using non-union.

The above information garnered, along with the legal constraints of Recognition and Secondary activity puts us in a box that if we don’t bust out of very soon – will end this version of a free and independent labor MOVEMENT.

That’s managements job and mission – to beat us!

Next Blog will deal with how to put them in a box, and keep them there until they sign a CBA of go out of business!

For you heavy readers – here is a paper on uncertainty!

Principles of Uncertainty – by Joseph B. Kadane

“What is this book and how might it be used? There are many books and courses that suggest the computation of particular statistics, or suggest the use of particular algorithms. By contrast, this book addresses how to think about uncertainty. Thus it is addressed to PREFACE xxvii those who want to know “why.” I have chosen a particular point of view, the subjective Bayesian view, because this approach has best survived the tumult of doing statistical applications and worrying about the meaning behind the calculations.”

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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