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No Irish Need Apply –

No Irish

Much debated over the decades was the extent this sign appeared thru-out the cities from the 1860’s thru to the 1920’s.

Whatever the debate tells us in historical terms, what is clear is the Irish immigrants back then didn’t wait on history. They didn’t wait on companies. They didn’t wait on public opinion. They didn’t wait on legislation. And they most certainly didn’t wait on politicians.

They forged their own path to carve out what life in America would be for them and their families. In doing so they anchored the emerging labor movement especially the AFL and the Building Trades affiliates.

They wrote history. They went toe to toe with companies that would make the companies of today look like pushovers. They drove public opinion. They became the politician’s and wrote the laws. They didn’t ask permission to have a job with living wages, benefits and conditions.

Wave after wave of immigrants also created a path by confronting economic injustice and demanding in actions and not mere words a CBA, Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The refrain today and for the last 2 decades is that we in the trades need to sell the companies – sell the companies and contractors. Nice! To be a BRAND instead of a MOVEMENT. To be passive and ask for our right to exist. To collaborate with “junk yard dogs”.

To go out of existence and leave behind the heritage of our Founders hard won gains. For the “leadership” of the past 2 decades – to coast! To spin beyond belief the numbers that when in context say we are overwhelming getting our butts kicked – and ignore them or have an arrogance to believe we are winning in our meetings and conventions.

Why our Founders succeeded is they knew and understood one point that spans from then till today. What they knew is that WORKERS own the jobs, not management! It’s not a play on words – it is a psychology.

Our Founders controlled the means of production and the labor pool. One without the other and we will not increase our numbers.

The “leaders” for the last 2 decades have allowed everyone but us to control the outcome of if we as a Building Trades succeed.

I’m now working at Marshalltown Iowa at the new natural-gas fired generating station with over 600 workers, most of them boomers from around North America.

Have been piecing together the stories from the rank & file and the International Presidents would do well to lose the oxfords and don a high vis vest and just hire in and listen.

Even the station I’m at in Marshalltown speaks volumes to the rapid erosion of Building Trades numbers.

The owner of the station, a nationally known company historically has built union and the subs on this job are union across the board – so far so good right! Well the construction manager chosen to run the job is historically one of the worse open shop/anti-union companies in North America.

All over the US this is developing more and more and some very big jobs have just shut down – Dear IP’s keep genuflecting and posting our respective Standards of Excellence posters and we won’t have much market share left in 10 years, if not sooner.

Labor Rising maintains that there is a transfer of union contractors and union workers long underway. The personel info gathered at this site and most others would be very useful for the recruitment agencies recruiting skilled trades’ union workers.

At some point in time we have to stand for something! Economic justice and again owning the jobs would be nice.

Next week we will get back to our series on solutions to again win in the Building Trades using four forms of technology to grab those anti-union companies and the end-users/developers by the wallets.

Labor Rising’s organizing methodology is to impact the clients, credit and social footprint/perception of the end-user, developer, construction manager & general contractor.

Those that like to whine on how unfair it is that unions have it rough today need to re-visit your labor history and replace the politicians in our ranks that pretend to lead – or you will forfeit a career for a temporary job.

Politicians within our ranks that pretend to be leaders are easy to spot, their mouths are moving. Also they are always travelling to sell the union instead of being in the streets – 21st century style winning economic justice for all workers, union or not!

I often imagine what would happen if the Irish leaders and the other immigrant leaders of yesteryear would do upon meeting their contemporaries of today – the word Donnybrook comes to mind!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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