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Unions Irrelevant When it comes to Technology and Social Media –


Get out your smart phones please! Google search (enter your trade – such as plumbing, electrical, painting, etc) contractors in your city. So an example would be hvac contractors in Columbus, Ohio. Overwhelmingly the results for that search will be as follows – directories (Manta, Dex, Yahoo, etc), paid ad words (top and right side of page highlighted) and organic listings (non-paid listings) will appear. The non/anti-union contractors show up approximately 96% of the time on the first page in concentrated numbers.

Why? Because of Relevance and Authority, the Pillars of a Google search –

In the world of Google, relevance is what “you say about yourself.”  For example, to get in a Google search, you say you are a plumber several times, and that is the most basic way you become relevant on the internet as a plumber. It is how you go into the bucket for the search term plumber, or any other search word or phrase.

We in the Building Trades say we are relevant because we say we are plumbers, hvac, electricians, roofers, etc.  What that does is put us in a category with millions of other entities saying the same time about themselves. This is what “you say about yourself” and is a statement of your relevance.  Relevance gets you in the search!

Authority is what “others say about you.” Experts, Tweets, Facebook, Google, You-Tube & reviews are but a few examples of what “others say about you.” It determines your ranking on Google to a huge degree. On Google, if you’re not on the 1st page you might as well go away because you will not have much relevance. On a smart phone, because of limited screen size, the top 4 or 5 listed search terms get the lion’s share of relevance/activity in a given search – case closed. This is a very powerful platform for unions to develop to help our union contractors in residential, service and middle markets to gain hours. It is the Yellow pages of the 21st Century and also consider, we are rapidly moving to a mobile platform. The membership as a “sales engine” for union contractors and to use this leverage to sign smart non-union contractors. Now this is a VALUE far past safety and training that’s makes real hard dollar sense.

In our next Blogs we will discuss Labor unions & Labor Management Co-operation Committees (LMCC) using the internet for marketing our signatory contractors to increase hours and market share. Right now we would rate a 2 on a 1 – 10 scale, with 10 being a properly executed campaign that produces inbound business at a significant rate for the union construction companies in the residential, service and mid – markets – big hours! So think Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Build Zoom etc.

Let’s look at another real life and on-going example of the power of Google as it relates to Relevance and Authority for our best in class training programs.

Union membership, organizers and agents – Google careers/jobs on how to become an electrician, plumber, roofer, hvac, welder, carpenters, etc. Overwhelmingly, the result will not include our union apprenticeships on the first page – if at all!  The pride of our trades is our “state of the art” apprenticeship schools (in which I taught for 9 years).

Now remember use the search terms career and/or jobs as xxx – whatever trade you’re in and the city you want. These are the 2 search terms that are most used, as in approx. 85% of the time. Using the search with the word apprenticeship in it will increase the likelihood of the search being successful, however the word apprenticeship is an arcane term relative to career and jobs.

What is absolutely lacking is the authority or “what others are saying” about our career and/or job paths and apprenticeship schools. Our comprehensive training programs are not found by and large by those interested because the trades are not relevant in those words of career and jobs. We are in our own bubble, Brothers & Sisters.  Translation is that no one outside of the Building Trades is saying anything about our apprenticeship programs with enough authority to matter. Even internally, what we say about our apprenticeship programs is overwhelmingly improperly formatted and cannot be found on the internet! Very little to no use of You tubes for apprenticeship’s.

In contrast, look at the activities of the anti-union and the majority of vocational and community colleges. Those entities are literally stealing all of our apprenticeship training modules.  They rewrite them and load the materials onto their websites with key word rich content. Authority on the modules is strongly inferred through authorship by professors, engineers, etc. In the case of community colleges, an .edu is used as the suffix to links. An .edu conveys a lot of authority in the world of how Google ranks!

The cumulative effect is that by the end of the decade any young person looking to be a tradesperson will find only vocational schools and community colleges as their pathway to training.

Blogging – not done on 97% of all union websites.

Blogging is effective for engaging & educating. However its number one job is to put content on the internet that can be found in searches. It positions unions and/or our signatory contractors as a leader in all facets of construction from residential to heavy industry. It positions us as the “authority” in construction related activities, training and new construction technologies, including Green & Sustainable construction.

When potential end-users, owners and buyers are searching for information on our contractors’ expertise, blogs channel “authority” to our signatory contractors and unions.

Less than 3% of all unions and union contractors websites blog properly and timely. Blogging is a professional activity (like us), but our vendors have not conveyed this to the thousands of leaders of unions across the nation.

Blogging, and doing so effectively is mandatory for entities such as unions, their training programs & our union contractors that want to be relevant in the world of the internet today. It is not an activity that an in-law or friend can do!

Look at C.U.R.T. (Construction Users Round Table), AGC (Associated General Contractors) and the ABC websites as examples.  They all refer to unions as minimally as possible and in the most general of terms, and will not confer authority through the internet on our apprenticeship schools in any substantive way.

On the other hand, with regard to relevance and authority, both our signatory contractors and unions can dominate these search engine internet strategies if we collectively choose to make it happen and invest the same energy that we have put into jurisdictional disputes, politics and labor management cooperation. If unions and our signatory contractors continue to ignore how the rest of North America does business and not engage, we will cease to be relevant.

Hard words of advice – our current vendors and consultants have clearly failed to instruct unions on these very important aspect of living in the 21st century.

Also in the next Blog post we will demonstrate how bad the vendors serving the Building Trades have failed. They take big checks and give us worse in class service and now want to BS you even more. Stayed turned. We have the results of 1,380 websites to discuss in the next Blog(s).

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


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