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Union Organizing & Initiative

It is important that we remember the word initiative to the extent that when initiative is reduced in the Building Trades, our progress as a union will be slowed. The “status quo” & politics is the killer of initiative in the building trades and has now been prevalent for almost 3 decades. Conversely, if we can cultivate and improve the rewards which trigger initiative, we will become increasingly stronger and united in a common cause.

Unions without initiative are lost, and the numbers show that in spades.  If our initiative is in short supply, maybe it is because we have not decided to decisively break the culture we currently find ourselves in – especially with regard to organizing. While mouthing the words “raise market share” is the manta across the building trades, actually doing it has not happened. Trying to change our organizing culture on the margins has not proven to work and has not even slowed the loss of market share. Initiative defeats excuses for losing market share and makes us “masters of our own ships”.

One constant in life is change – it is and old but true adage. Change is why unions and, to a larger extent America came into being. Unions have become fearful of change, and brand those proposing change, loose cannons. As a rudder guides a ship, I would suggest to you that labor is the rudder which guides the American standard of living. Without labor’s forceful influence and standing up for the American Dream; which includes decent and fair living standards for all, our unions and country would drift as a ship upon an ocean minus its rudder!

Organizing has always been how labor grows – we need to adapt now to the 21st Century version and change! Our founders would expect that we adapt to this challenge.


“if you see a good fight – get in it”

In Solidarity,

Danny L. Caliendo

Senior Instructor/Founder

Labor Combat Organizing  College

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