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RTW and The Building Trades labor college

“reward your friends – punish your enemies”  a philosophy  of how to wield political power. Think Tea Party for the contemporary use of this psychology of labor leader Samuel Gompers.

Using this approach requires a dynamic labor movement which “has the power” to advance its agenda of social justice. Since 1973 the Building Trades has consistently lost market share and by extension membership (votes) & power (money). Organized Labor has been an oxymoron from 1973 through today on advancing a national agenda. We have built up an over reliance on politician’s to advance legislation on behalf of labor; instead of having the muscle to demand the legislation be advanced for labor. Organized labor cannot “punish” anyone because our market share is imploding due to our inability to organize!                                                                                                                       labor college

I am part of a generation brothers & sisters over the age of 55; that has had leadership which took a “bullet proof” market share in 1973, and rode it into the ground. Labor History will not look upon our generation as prime time players in advancing the labor movement.  Leaders in this era looked at the building trades as a “brand” & not a “movement”. Brands die out, but movements and their mission of raising middle class standards for the entire county is perpetual!                                                                                           labor college

Until we look at ourselves critically and self-examine what hasn’t worked – we are not going anywhere, and the momentum of anti-union legislation and opinion will continue to erode what’s left of our movement.  The “rank & file” are fit for the upcoming fight, however they need leaders, not politicians to set the tone and agenda. We have to stop reacting to anti-union initiatives and get in the faces, pocketbooks & businesses of the leadership of the anti-union. Going to the business leaders, hat in hand begging for jobs & action hasn’t worked! Knowing what wine goes with what dish over a “business meeting” isn’t advancing market share!                                                                                                          labor college

Watching  Rev Al, Rachael & Big Ed complain about how unfair RTW and other anti-worker legislation is, and seeing some continue to say – “don’t they know what they’re doing” or “they don’t  understand” is playing right into the continuing advance of anti-worker initiatives. The anti-union knows exactly what they are doing. Until we show up for the fight with more than disjointed facebook posts and posters and yelling “shame” after the fact; these “junk yard dogs” are going to continue to advance their agenda. We have the power of the people which has to be coordinated and unleashed non-violently to get labor back to winning and advancing workers, union or not!

 “if you see a good fight – get in it”


Danny L Caliendo

Senior Organizer/Founder

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