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Building Trades Constitutions – Be a Victim or Activist –


Most people don’t believe something will happen to them – until it is to late! May be more attributable to human nature than stupidity.

Since the trades are at that point of it being too late as a free and independent trade MOVEMENT, we either can chose to be victims or advocates for ourselves, our Brothers & Sisters and our unions.

Hubert H. Humphrey had a couple of quotes directed to the Rank & File:

“Better to live 50 years as a tiger – than 100 years as a chicken” Being a VICTIM! Or…

“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate” Being an ACTIVIST!

OUR International Constitutions are clearly serving construction managements’ interests and profits. The “good ole boys” are also well served, never missing a check as administrators serving on behalf of the Building Trades’ temp agency. Every number, and most of the revisions to our constitutions over the past 20 years coupled with all available facts, attest to this!

Labor Rising/Labor Combat has written 164 Blogs outlining specifics of this reality and has produced a 474-page manuscript of relevant documentation from 2007 till the present. Everything backed up with direct commentary from approx. 650 Building Trades Agents and Officers from 350 Locals/DC’s in the US and Canada! All undisputed by any International BT leaders in any forum to date! We are ready for that debate/discussion at any time; and will be rock solid with all necessary documents and connecting the jigsaw puzzle.

The Internationals know exactly what strategies they are pursuing. What will confirm this is if the New International Presidents, consisting of Brothers James P. “Bud” McCourt, General President – Insulators; Lonnie Stephenson – International President – IBEW; Eric Dean – General President – IW; Daniel E. Stepano – General President – OPCIMA; Joseph Sellers, Jr. – General President – SMART; Mark McManus – General President – UA; and Kenneth E. Rigmaiden – General President – IUPAT continue to fall in line with the losing strategy of Value on Display! In context without weasel words and rah rah BS, the trades have “NET” – lost market share, and more importantly DENSITY, continuously since inception of Value on Display. That reality of being a MOVEMENT is no longer the equation/concern when the trades are a temp agency selling technical skills as a BRAND! It is about hours – period! Many true Labor leaders with a Rank & File heart are killing themselves keeping the faith only to be undermined continuously with concessionary bargaining and PLA’s for the sake of hours!

When the trades claim the return to POST 2008 membership numbers, which is the lowest bench mark to use; there are many gotchas that reveal the hypocrisy of them as LABOR LEADERS. Example: all hours now produced are nowhere near being equal as hours a decade ago. Hours for new classifications like CE/CW and many different helper codes, along with International-run locals of many types, continue to crush real and sustainable hours. Hours produced because of super-heated economic conditions ARE NOT increased market share. And, by the way, the trades are underwater on that measurement.

The above officers should not be granted any honeymoon period, as they all have been senior officers and implementers of Value on Display. Will they individually or collectively break the status quo, or continue to be a business BRAND? At some of the Locals/DCs resides a semblance of a Labor Movement – those 180 or so Local/DC bodies that know the Internationals are compromised.

What is lost are two historical realities – the first is the trades have LOST market share after every BOOM period since 1973 – everyone. The second is our best hands are openly and aggressively being recruited by non-union and our retention numbers attest to that, along with the former union members now recruiting on behalf of hard core recruitment firms.

Reform must be internal and not conditional on what outside plus or minuses may occur. WE JUST CAN’T WAIT – case closed! It will take place on the union floor – “IF” it does!

All careers hang in the balance along with many pensions. More than 100 Multi-Employer pensions are classified as insolvent and/or troubled. With the Internationals being dictated to by management to abandon defined benefits and only have defined contributions, or the owners will not give them the work.

A band of Brothers and Sisters demanding answers to questions in the proper forums @ the local level is how it must start, and it already has in many Locals/DCs. However, they are uncovered and the Internationals “Business Professionals” can derail most labor activism at this point! Sheer numbers can put the R&F back in charge. Internationals are veneers and can be cracked if hit hard enough. Heck the Internationals came from the locals in the beginning. Few Organizers/Agents are trained to win past some local mom & pop non-union companies because the Internationals will not train true organizing; do real opposition research; control hiring and train in it; use the coordinated social signals of the membership for our union contractors, community outreach, political leverage, careers and training; use 21st century technology in websites and mass communications; or use labor unrest/civil disobedience legally and lawfully, etc.

The complete lack of training is BY DESIGN – and demanded by big management or else!

So, Labor needs to RISE on the floor – with all the obstacles – hell that’s what it is all about.

So, you want to be Badass? Let’s get to it in the next blog.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


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