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The Building Trades on a Razor’s Edge –

Razors Edge

The previous Blog entitled Building Trades Members, their Skills & Contractors are Being Transferred to the Non-Union – outlines the very real activities the non/anti-union entities are undertaking to diminish and/or eliminate the Building Trades.

Our own strategies are being used against us – very smart on the business side of construction – not so smart on the Building Trades side to ignore it, and continue with Value on Display as the Go 2 Strategy!

For those that missed it – here you go:!5503&authkey=!AKSmPrL74VifBCc&ithint=file%2cdocx

Why such a dramatic statement that the unionized trades as a composite are on the edge?

The Labor Rising group has in its data base 276 unions from all trades and across the US and even a little from Canada. On the US side we have the only information like it.  276 local unions would be a large sample size and sufficient for making some assessment’s on the Building Trades local, regional and national market share.

Where and when the respective trades report market share numbers, we tend to be overly generous in our percentage of market share, compared to actual data. Actual objective data is what Labor Rising and organizing/market development should be all about. No more BS, hard verifiable numbers!

Our last markets or pockets of union density in the trades reside in very confined markets with a limited number of union contractors in them. So as those union contractors are flipped – one way or another, significant market share goes with them, or is then open to the greater market for potential transfer.

In the gated jobs of big end-users – the ratio of non-union to union continues to increase year over year in every industry – “NET”. Is there a point when the CURT represented companies can “PULL THE PIN”?

The data to date of the 276 unions, plus the verifiable trends indicate that this realistically exits.

We ASSUME that we are needed – which as we know makes an ASS out of U and ME if we don’t acknowledge that we may being worked, as in played!

Over 95% of those 604 attendees to the Labor Rising program have no base information on how to format the construction market they serve. It’s not the organizers/market reps fault that they do not know how to use even basic SIC/NAICS codes that are used daily by the insurance, business, credit and government entities. It has to be taught which begs the question, why hasn’t it? Can’t have even a chance at real and tangible market share improvements without knowing this and other core information.

Information such as the composite credit ranking of the overall market, sub-sections and the individual credit of the non/anti-union companies and affiliates if any. This isn’t even Opposition Research which is the inner working of a company to discover any and all business relationships and weaknesses.

The Revenue Scatter Chart displayed in the link is an actual market. It is 1.7 Billion in revenue for that trade within that overall market. Those data points represent real companies and are live, which means the live chart can identify every data point to a company with essential info linked back to an Excel 2013 spreadsheet, which then is formidable in its application to distill the market down to actionable information for the organizer/rep. And every market is different and some even need a starting point, yet we do the same old tired BS! Not that hard to beat when you really stop to think about it!!5509&authkey=!AFWA01G_6KZc1WM&v=3&ithint=photo%2cPNG

The charts horizontal axis is the total number of companies in that market and is approx. 1760 total companies – what you see in this chart is a Compression Zone, which is a subset of the total market from revenue ranges of $5 to $10 million in revenue. The Master Chart is often set as low as $100,000 dollars in revenue, which can then pick up 1099’s in the market, along with a lot of their business/personal info.

This union wants to increase market share in this Compression Zone, which for them is primarily service work, and by learning how to first format the information and then learn how to structure and organize the companies – BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, those companies relationships with the general contractor, construction manage and end-user; the union can then make educated decisions as to how specifically to proceed with their strategy for a given contractor, but keeping in mind at all times the broader market, and also how to send very real signals to the end-users that this is a union market going forward.

After approx. 170 hours of homework with this market after what they learned in the Labor Rising Strategic Organizing segment of integrated market development, they have 47 total companies represented by the different color data points (the data points on the genuine chart are very well developed with outlines and various colors that denote meaningful info displayed on a legend) on the Revenue Scatter Chart which have approx. 331 million in annual revenue of the approx. 1.7 billion dollar total market. The non/anti-union have approx. 3.6 million man-hours of work and the union approx. 1.3 man-hours.

They have found out that 5 companies are vehemently anti-union and will develop a potent game plan to address this. What this union and others are learning is that when we don’t seek Recognition and keep our mouths shut, a whole different play book is legally available to us. Another approx. 25 of the 33 non-union contractors have substantive issues that make signing with a union a low percentage probability, but like the attention of the union, so-as to have a high degree of certainty  on how to “HANDLE” the union! Soon, that will not be the case any longer, and uncertainty as to when, how and to what degree the union shows up in their business lives, will no longer be predictable – and it will hurt the non-union business revenue and their clients a lot.

That leaves 8 non-union contractors, along with the relationships they have with the GC, CM and end-users that have a likelihood of signing a full CBA. So Value on Display and what we as unions can do for them to increase real market share – makes real business sense.

Understand if you can, that the universe of end-users and construction managers are going to be watching as this union shifts gears very decisively within this Compression Zone. With proper discipline, which is a segment of strategic organizing unto itself. After approx. 170 hours of homework on this market what that means is a host of different business decisions which favor using unions will develop.

Very dangerous game to continue a Value on Display approach when perhaps as many as 60% and more of the companies in a given Compression Zone, much less the entire market, have strained or increasingly weak credit, are a sub of another entity that we didn’t realize, have strong relationships with anti/non-union GC, CM, end-user, is being merged with another entity, is being “rolled up” by a big company, etc., and this is a partial list of what has to be done – BEFORE an organizer/rep can then make any determination of then how to proceed, and what strategy and tactics to use.

This continued craziness of calling 10 non-union companies to get a meeting with 3, to explain our value, or subjectively picking 5 non-union companies to organize which have been assigned some type of subjective priority is a huge part of why we are losing market share.

Without totally formatting a union’s market, and then having a working knowledge of further extensive but totally doable fact finding before we do anything, is a recipe for disaster – the huge issue before us – is time is of the essence now, and clearly not on our side!

It is time to get real with the situation and cards dealt us – how we got here is a topic for history. The overwhelming majority of the construction market is non/anti-union and wants to stay that way, along with those end-users that write the check; so then how is Value on Display the Go 2 Strategy in that environment along with its 2 decade long track record of losing?

The business and legal consequences of Value on Display are verifiable and real.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising Group


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