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10 Reasons Why the Trades IPs are the Punks of Management –

  1. Zero accountability to membership. It is even worse than the present state of politics in the U.S. and Canada. Politicians at the highest levels of government in North America can and do lose their jobs. When have you seen an International President of the trades lose an election? When have you seen them even have competition for the job? Members can go an entire career and never see this occur. We don’t have the best officers forged from the cauldron of ideas and risk taking. We have the old stale and pale leaders chosen behind closed doors of the “good ole boys” club, who have never missed a check! And we wonder why we are losing!
  2. Sold out to management. Can’t “sugar coat” this any longer! Since the early 70’s, and especially in the last 2 decades with the strategy of Value on Display, has this been clear. Not my opinion – fact! Every way that VOD can be measured it has failed “NET”! The IPs have capitulated to management to secure hours across the board. The IPs have sold out wages, conditions, benefits, rules, classifications, pensions and working alongside of non and anti-union workers.
  3. The continuing collapse of market share and density is taking a toll on Building Trades’ pensions. The term that a local is at full employment underscores market share collapse. Full employment today is nowhere near what full employment of 15 years ago. Those lost hours, due to lost market share and technology, are the primary drivers of the under-funding of insolvent pensions. Overly rich pension benefits given decades ago and not supported by hard dollars is also a big part of under-funding. A rising stock market, and members subsidizing underfunded pensions for a decade or more, are the only dam left in place. Even if the market retreats to just average historical returns for a time – the pension dam will still have far too many holes to keep it from breaking. Should the market go on a prolonged downturn – goodbye pensions! How about membership money used, for the last decade to now, to subsidize/prop up existing benefit levels? Money off the check – maxed out. The membership is reluctant to take any more money from their annuity. Money available from new negotiations – slim to none. Look at the current trend of management dictating that if they sign a PLA and/or other specialty agreements with the trades – they are OUT of contributing to an underfunded pension.
  4. New classification of BT workers. Like ALL other tools deployed by the old stale and pale bunch thru today has it failed. Being competitive is the language of losing in the trades. Whole generations of organizers, agents and members think that being competitive with the non/anti-union will again restore the trades’ market share. New classifications, market recapture/target funds, extended apprenticeships, PLAs, specialty agreements of every type, just to name but a few competitive give away “TOOLS” that have eroded BT market share. Every one of these “NET” over time HAVE NOT WORKED!
  5. NOT ORGANIZING! This word has been so misused for so long that it no longer has any meaning. Organizing at its heart is imposing worker’s collective rights on a company and those companies around it. Nothing else! It is precisely how the middle class was formed in North America by our Founders. It is as relevant today as it was at any time in the history of North America! OUR IPs will not IMPOSE the rights of workers on non/anti-union companies. The IPs will not put an anti-union contractor and those entities which hire them “out of business”! With VOD being the strategy of appeasement, the IPs have long recoiled from the very concept of putting the most aggressive anti-union groups down. Totally possible, but the internationals will not do it. So, when the term “sold out” is used, this is at the heart of why – allowing the anti/non-union to progress unchallenged over the rights of workers. That is selling out! Organizing is NOT recruitment, salting, stripping, subsidizing wages, partnering with community, waiting for legislative help, blitzing, selling values and training, concession of every type, hoping for a Hail Mary, etc., They are at best tools “IF” used within a greater organizing strategy which imposes workers’ rights on companies. WITHOUT IMPOSING OUR WILL TO SECURE A CBA – THE ABOVE TOOLS ARE LOSERS! Our Founders did 2 things, control the workers AND, more importantly, control the means of production. They went after the company and imposed themselves on the company. They didn’t ask permission and try to sell themselves!
  6. Being victims! OMG Becky! The drama here is Oscar worthy. The internationals blame everything but themselves for the near demise of the trades and then continue with losing strategies. FYI members: Our Founders organized and imposed themselves on countless companies. They were killed, they were beat, they were blacklisted, they worked like slaves, the politics and laws were against them, public support in most cases wasn’t to be found, next to zero money and no rationalization of the circumstances. And despite all of this, and more, our Founders controlled the means of production – and imposed workers’ rights on every major company then in existence. And the “men” for the last 50 years up until today have played victim. They blame everyone for their abdication of the oath they took. Kind of sounds like Trump.
  7. Market development and the complete lack of it in training. Labor Rising has trained more than 700 BT organizers/agents and 95% of them did not know what SIC/NAICS codes were. That’s a big deal and that is entirely on the internationals’ senior Lead Organizers. The entire business world, along with government entities, rely on SIC/NAICS codes to secure information & build info and markets. For decades, our organizers have been set up to fail without being provided formal training. No formal training in how to use and read various credit reports. No combing out and separating the prime players in a market and the noise of a market. Zero training in how to build the non/anti-union market flow business charts. Who is the senior most decision maker/company in the entire chain of construction and funding? And, securing germane opposition research on the narrow and competitive markets into which the trades want to grow and expand.
  8. Next to zero use of proactive and structured technology. It is a sad and long list of disengagement found nowhere in modern society except the senior leadership of the trades! No use of a membership-wide mass texting programs. Mass texting with mobile websites can deliver every type of info to the members, from general info to specific actions tailored to the circumstances and members’/markets’ needs. There are plenty of business applications that can be readily adapted for the trades use, fast and cheap! For example, with mass texting programs can be used to obtain members’ emails. Can deliver major documents like newsletters, Pension/Health & Welfare info, etc. Can provide links to union Apps and vendor Apps. Can be used for cyber organizing and coordinating and facilitating efforts of organizers to work with substantial numbers of non-union workers. Can do worker outreach and conduct mass meetings with meeting platforms such as Go 2 Meetings. So, if an international, DC or union has a mass texting program and the non-union workers’ cell numbers, communication and education becomes fluid, effective and private. But, without full use of pro-active and structured available technology, the trades have zero ability to advance items such as opposition websites of bad actor anti-union companies. Cannot create the website with truthful info and send a mass text to hundreds/ thousands of members with info on what to do. Cannot put the anti-unions’ worst secrets in plain sight and advance them to the top of the search results with membership clicks. Cannot become a “sales engine” for our existing contractors and those that want to become signatory (now that’s selling a benefit far past training). Cannot capitalize on marketing social signals that are the gold in today’s business world, and the trades are sitting on a powder keg of social signals, unused! (Pull out your phone. Google how to have a job/career as a plumber, electrician, HVAC, welding, painting, etc. Add your location such as Boston, Chicago, Seattle. Look at the search results on page 1. The search term of Apprenticeship is seldom used by young people. How many show the trades training? Few to none. So, the trades want young people to consider the trades over college but do next to nothing to “OWN” the 1st page of Google to get them to call us over the non-union!) Cannot post YouTube videos of 2-minute snippets of the various subsets of trades training with maximum effectiveness. Cannot send the apprenticeship link to the membership via a link on a mass text where we can effectively control the message of apprenticeships, although it is totally possible to own substantial social real estate in the shortest time possible and inexpensively. Career fairs should have an I-Pad for prospective apprentices interested in a trade to enter their cell numbers and other info, so an auto-responder will keep in touch with them. Nothing on this list is being used membership wide at the international level effectively! The internationals still practice the build it (technology) and they (the membership) will come with passive and unstructured social signals. Losers!
  9. Complete lack of practical legal organizing training. So, what is the practical real-world pros/cons of Recognition per the law. 90%, and perhaps more of the organizers, reps and agents Labor Rising has trained, do not know this. Not their fault, this is ON the training provided by the senior leadership of the internationals. Without knowing the pros/cons of what, when, how and degrees of what Recognition means, organizers/reps continue to put themselves and their respective unions in legal boxes that favor the non/anti-union. Translation is we lose continuously, and from multiple levels of organizers set up to fail. What is the definition of Secondary activity? Again, the organizers don’t understand the intersection of Secondary and Recognition and what it means to the outcome of a successful campaign. Huge numbers clearly don’t understand that keeping your strategy and game plan confidential pays big dividends. Our organizers talk far too much and to far too many players, and then wonder why the non/anti-union are prepared for us and win! The confusion between 1st Amendment Free Speech rights vs. when the NLRB has jurisdiction is staggering. Hiring is another area where our trades’ organizers are without training. Strong laws exist even today in our current anti-union world regarding hiring, and Organizers are literally clueless. A few examples: at what point do you as an applicant become covered under a law with some teeth? Go to a typical anti/non-union website and see if they have an open application tab/link under jobs/careers on their website. You, as a union organizer are looking at “GOLD” if there is a link available and don’t know it because the internationals will not train you! Control/affect the hiring of the non/anti-union and our winning percentages will go through the roof. No BS. Fact. Civil disobedience and coloring within the lines loses 95% of the time. Can you imagine MLK, Mother Jones and other successful winning activists/organizers alerting those they were protesting that they were coming? At what time!?! And securing permits and staying within planned barricades!?! The entire point of civil disobedience is to change and challenge status quo. It is to correct bad laws. It is to grab those entities by the wallets until they hear us; and do it entirely on our schedule and terms.  At one time women couldn’t vote and slavery was legal. VALUE ON DISPLAY, and being predictability civil, has been a totally failed STRATEGY! Think of this equation. The entire group of organizers/market reps from all trades and from every area suck! All the BS of “got to use the tools in the tool box” is pure BS. So, NO ONE throughout 2 countries and in every trade and area has figured out how to use the tools to win. Talk about the biggest fraud perpetrated on the membership – this is at the top. It is the strategy that has failed not the troops. So, if you are only supposed to recruit and/or sell VOD, even as a passionate advocate of labor, you are set up to lose advancing the middle class. You, my Brothers & Sisters, are securing enough bodies to secure enough hours for the temp agency formally known as the BT! The closest analogy I can think of is that you are trying to win a football game with only the use of running plays between the tackles, and you are starting on your own 5-yard line every time. And every other player, from every other trade, from every state/province has the same losing plays! The defense can beat you 90% of the time, or more, all things being equal. As an Organizer you DO NOT have a full play book because the INTERNATIONALS will not train you in building one, much less allow you practice it! By our numbers at Labor Rising, approximately 75% of those trained by us have either quit organizing, been fired or promoted up and out of the way. They are told we have a Lead Organizer and we do it his way. Play ball or else.  And his way x 14 trades, along with those that preceded him in the past 50 years, have been losers – “NET”! Totally measurable.
  10. It is mid October 2018 and Trump will sign RTW anti-union legislation soon along with more anti-worker carnage. The Supreme Court is stacked against workers’ rights even if the D’s win back some seats. The truth of the situation is stark! Will the International Presidents of the trades continue to be the punks of business? Will they continue being a temp agency appeasing the world of construction at every turn while talking smack at our conventions and meetings? The DNA that our Founders had in building a trades MOVEMENT is nowhere to be found by this “good ole boy” club! The fate and legacy of the trades now rests on 14 old men with weak backbones!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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