Labor Rising Logo
Call (630) 373-0774

Badass Union Riders and Their Constitutions –


Note: picture depicts Firefighters, Police and Building Trades members escorting a memorial piece of steel from the World Trade Center.

The Rank & File are bad ass in the field. In the shirts and badging they wear. In the union motorcycle clubs and other groups, they belong to. In the skills they have. They take little crap and express their views on a wide range of subjects just fine!

Then there is the union/district council floor during a meeting. Governance of their union.

So let’s step back for a moment and consider a unions motorcycle club. Most unions and DC have them. They had to be formed – which is organizing and activism. Many have structured officers and by-laws – which are the leaders and the rules. Many have well-coordinated events and volunteer for charitable causes – projecting their reason to be and mission. All members and even non-members are welcome – interaction with each other and the community. Various types of personalities and individuals – diversity and inclusion of the group. Wide range of politics and expression – civility and freedom.

Yet the very same members conduct themselves quite differently on a union floor vs. going for a ride.

While one is fun and an expression of a common interest – the other pays the bills, buys the bike, the house, the car, the college, provides retirement security, H&W and training – just to name a few.

And yet when the call for a ride is out – all join in to make it the camaraderie and fun it is. Conversely scheduled and known union meeting are having a difficult time in getting 5% of the membership to show up and rule over the affairs of the union/dc local.

Not so badass – the few activists that do show, are usually on an island when they ask questions of leaders and try to advance issues. They know the issues because they talk about them endlessly in the shanty with other members. Yet when they take to the floor they are on their own and left hanging.

So all the show of being a badass, is just that – show. If let yourself and your family be bullied and intimidated for fear of your leadership and being blacklisted and/or labeled – you’re not a bad ass – just that simple. If you run from the fight – you’re not a bad ass. If you have endless excuses – you’re not a bad ass. And if you’re not going to educate yourself in the affairs of good governance and civil discourse on the union floor – then we as members, deserve the governance we get. Case closed!

In many cases, which are in the minority – good leaders do the right thing for the members, and far too often few members even show up then. And that’s a solid leader!! Great leaders want interaction and foster it, and we leave them hanging. Internationals can then marginalize them because they do not have the force of the membership behind them past their election! However, the clear majority of local/dc leaders, go along to get along, are more worried about which wine goes with what foods and advancing themselves and their own self-interest. Most have never missed a pay check. And the same badass attitude of the R&F in the field, looks more like sheep when confronting issues pertinent to maintaining a strong union. From holding good or bad leaders accountable to the R&F.

The understanding of your respective constitutions is not only the first step to having authority over the leadership – it is the roadmap to get you there.  Some constitutions are so manipulated that trying to change them without understanding them just won’t happen.

I can see that many of those that read “OUR” blogs have searched their constitutions because 7 of the internationals search results of the PDF of those constitutions have risen in the ranking on the Google search results. Most are now on the first page – most excellent!

To change the constitution requires that the R&F control their respective union floors. And in controlling those union floors, binds the local’s officers to the R&F and the internationals lure is minimized if not eliminated. Binding those local officers to the R&F extends to votes on the district council via the delegates and would then be the majority of votes at the convention, if the R&F can secure their locals.

All things local/district council are found in the constitution – the parliamentary procedures are spelled out along with GOTCHA variations of procedures that will derail the advancing of an issue on the floor.

Minutes are the R&F friend, and knowing how to have them properly recorded and approved at the subsequent meeting puts the R&F in a strong position. If the chair wants to disrespect those wishes the procedures outlines how to challenge the chair and put them in the minutes. Should they still not yield, then the violation of member’s rights will be creditable both at the international and if needed in courts. Especially if violations are constantly repeated and a clear record kept – hint, hint.

The constitution outlines what respective titles can and cannot do. So for example “some” internationals have a DC president, a title, however that office and title may be paid little, if any salary. However, let’s say that same president is also an international or DC officer with a six figure salary!

What actions do you think that officer with 2 titles is going to be afraid of, receptive too, beholding too? The International/DC title that’s pays them 6 figures or the DC delegates? Take it one step further – what happens when it is the “TITLE” – that is the power to bind the local/DC to International agreements which then may be shoved down the locals/DC throats. GET IT! Constitutions vary, so do your homework! Sending delegates bound to the local/DC, and then keeping the title under their control means the International is limited in its ability.

The constitution has some/many of these features that you as R&F know nothing about – why, because we rather ride and stick our heads in the sand; than bind together for good governance of our locals.

What is cool is that good governance is not, and should NOT be political. Members of all types better come to understand that the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) serves all R&F. All the backroom deals, the bs politics, the whining about who gets what – everything. Without a CBA and market share you have a short term job at a temp agency, and are beholding to the leadership, most of whom aren’t worth 2 dead flies’. They can be gotten too and are, by many parties such as internationals, vendors, comp lawyers, politicians, contractors, etc. R&F is a means to their own ends.

The constituents of such a coalition are already in most/all locals/dc’s. The disenfranchised, members with 15-20 or more years of service with diminishing prospects for jobs – because of low wage classifications. Low wage classifications that will not be full CBA paid journeypersons, people of color and women getting those lower classifications, check the numbers, you’re being used. Apprentices who will be journeypersons and then displaced. Those on the road for extended periods of time. Activist. That’s a big constituency.

They as members never have to agree on all issues, only that an issue on the floor deserves the proper debate and vote. Deal yourself in, even when the game looks stacked against you. The shouting a member down by the chair or his/her minions will involve numerous other members rising to be sure that decision is challenged and over ridden if necessary. Members on the floor are very powerful; and once connected and coordinated with the focus on good governance will have authority over there locals, then the DC, then the International in fairly short amount of time.

So understand that parliamentary procedures allow for members that are friends, to go into a meeting and argue passionately from different points of view. Vote. And leave as friends – all else is politics and political theater. More on intermediate bodies and parliamentary procedures in upcoming blog.

So get “YOUR” PDF of your internationals constitution and work thru what an independent constituency would look like. Your already blacklisted by bad actors in leadership, played against one another – so why the fear? Realize that local BM knows your shirt size, and precisely how many shirts to have at election time. The really poor ones know your color and who do you thinks pay for all that BTW.

This is not for the faint of heart; it is for true badasses that want a career. If you want to stand with the FOUNDERS in the great ride in the hereafter – this is the price of admission. Not the posing we do, and the smack we talk!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising/Labor Combat

This entry was posted in Labor Rising and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.