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Don’t Have Time To Be “Nice” –

Being Nice

“All of us would be derelict in our duties as leaders, if we did not pursue a strategy of direct engagement and partnership with those corporations and industries that are leading the way in capital construction investments and job creation.” Sean McGarvey Keynote at 69th BT Convention.

And since that is not working at all – now what? Sound bites are killing us, and I accept that the messenger takes the hit in this, however it isn’t going to change the situation we find ourselves in!

Sugar coating our market share losses and the strategies that have led to them, have to be examined for what they are – a loser. Not only are our strategies not effective, they are used against us, to further erode our numbers and what diminishing power we have left. Google union avoidance as a start, and attend those workshops along with numerous other ways that the BT are systematically being removed from jobs which is consistently reducing our total MS “NET”! Our better hands and union contractors are being transferred to the non-union. Those are verifiable facts which can be substantiated when the homework is done to demonstrate that fact. Every number says we are being eliminated, and in many states/areas this is already done. Value on Display has a fatal disadvantage to the underlying strategy/comment above – it places the decision to use the BT’s, or not, entirely in the hands of the buyer. We have to be “nice”/”professional” with capital of else! Workers own the JOBS, not management, and until we get back to that fundamental way of thinking – we will continue to lose and/or be kept servants, if at all!

As a Building Trades leader/delegate you deal with:

  1. Continued legislative attacks on RTW, PLA and numerous other anti-worker, anti-union legislation. Funds and time to fight this are increasingly thinner and thinner. PLA’s are eroding our CBA’s and are nowhere as strong as a CBA. Ask any labor lawyer which one’s easier to walk away from. 21 states outlaw them and that number is increasing at this time, and in contrast to only 9 states that encourage their use. The BT are relying on political relationships which are eroding under our feet to save the day. Not good when we don’t have members and dues.
  2. The Building Trades is in full recruitment mode on behalf of end-users, developers, construction managers and contractors. This is not organizing and increasing market share. The BT are unknowingly for the most part, identifying highly skilled workers and union contractors for recruitment by the mostly NON-UNION construction world. Should you choose to, connect the dots and see that this is absolutely true and very identifiable. The Gulf Coast is the biggest example of this. Our union contractors have been trying to carve out market share in that region for nearly 5 years, with almost zero success. On the flip side the end-users now have verifiable names of workers, their skills and credentials, along with what exactly contractor’s duties and responsibilities are in state of the art facilities. The BT got 3-7% of the work and in return the end-user, developer, construction manager got a favorable deal from the combined trades with zero promises of future work. They also got more than enough info on how to show the union the door in the not too distant future.
  3. Big time direct recruitment of our membership by recruiters, labor brokering and trafficking, 1099’s, temp agencies, mis/under-classified workers, 87% of all job opportunities are in non-union – all under-cutting the BT MS by design. The burgeoning refugee crisis in Europe is going to provide huge numbers of desperate workers for all developed nations.

  1. Skilled trades training moving to a viral environment such as welding, structural painting, carpentry, masonry, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), heavy-equipment operation and others along with rapid advances in modularization and technology in construction delivery is limiting our marketing advantages.
  2. Complete dependence on outdated organizing tools, along with a complete loss of knowing how to build our markets in real time in the 21st We call it a Compression Zone and we work from knowns and positions of identified strengths – not perceived hopes and wishes which cannot be substantiated in real numbers.
  3. Not targeting the clients, credit and social footprint of established non/anti-union end-users, developers, construction managers and changing who they build with. The entity that signs the checks are our highest priority and can be affected to put in place union contractors.
  4. Under use, to a complete lack of doing and implementing Opposition Research before we decide who to talk too, and more importantly, who we do not engage with, and specifically why. The numbers clearly and overwhelming indicate that the more we allow the world of construction to unilaterally talk to us anytime and on their time schedule; the more work we lose. We in the BT have lost what the word UNCERTAINTY does in the world of construction, and how we can leverage that word to higher MS numbers.
  5. Having a complete lack of understanding of the legal consequences of Recognition and Secondary Laws in the real world of organizing and even market development. It creates a DEAD END for those unions not familiar on how these laws limit our penetration in organizing.
  6. Hiring and how to control and limit access to workers in the real work world of today. The single most important strategy that is totally learnable – is NOT taught anywhere except here. This learned ability will increase MS literally all by itself. Since 87% of the total market is non/anti-union, feeding that beast is the single highest priority for the non-union to grow, and we in the BT DO NOT know how to stop/limit this. This is not salting and is unbelievable that we do not attack this huge advantage we have!
  7. 21st Century use of technology. Not passive use of Facebook, Twitter, etc. Structured and aggressive use of internal communications for communications and raw social power, opposition websites, community initiatives, political uses, cyber bottom up organizing and using our combined social signals in boosting our union contractors thru the roof in their respective markets.
  8. Pension withdrawal liabilities and Cadillac Tax on Health & Welfare plans. The fallout on the approx. 150 insolvent multi-employer pension funds as their plan year’s end in the next couple of years is going to be a perception/PR nightmare for the trades, and a disaster for those future and even current retirees due to the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. At the bargaining table, the Cadillac Tax is looming huge over those upcoming negations and does not bode well for a weak BT to have much/any leverage on either issue.


We can either continue to react and give more and more ground hoping for salvation; or we can pro-actively get ahead of ALL these issues we are reacting too, and set the agenda on our terms.

This is exactly what our Founders knew and practiced – force capital to share the pie and not ask for them to consider it! What they lacked in being “Nice” was made up for by being respected!

Labor Rising is the only entity that has 4 ½ years of hard core research on the 11 plus bullet points above, starting in Sept. 07; along with now 3 ½ years of direct verification with those organizers/reps in the field, starting in May 2012. 603 of them from 276 unions’ with the dots connected, and the inter-relationships of the money players which all points to the BT being shown the door should we continue to be very predictable and re-active.

No one to date has challenged our numbers whatsoever – so they remain intact. We continue to build on them, regardless what direction they go in. Right now and for the last 2 decades, the BT continue to be NET losers across the board in an era of record construction spending in nearly all sectors.

Program attached for those that want to win consideration.!2192&authkey=!AMaw2staJJ524aQ&ithint=file%2cdocx

Bio of one of the instructors, all others available.!658&authkey=!AMBDn-fvq-wQyNk&ithint=file%2cdoc 

$1,760.00 dollars for the Foundations program in what specifically needs to be considered, acknowledged and changed to win in today’s environment. Add actual & incurred expenses if you want us to come and do the program on-site. We have zero constraints on the make-up of that group, multiple unions, multiple BT/DC and/or state run BT. Can do on-line for all/some of the attendees – limit of 90 for on-line participation.

So Brother & Sister Presidents/Secretary-Treasurer and Delegates –

We can continue to be marginalized and finding ourselves giving ground across many areas – or precisely and per a written and developed plan – win!

The difference between the working poor and resurgence of the middle class is in our collective hands. Are they political hands, gotta get mine, be loyal to a fault, protect my check and f**k the rest; or are they in the hands of leaders? History will be a very harsh but fair judge!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising


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