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Will This Be the Year Brother Mc Garvey Mentions Organizing During the Legislative Conference –


The focus of most of the Keynote will be on upcoming political elections as it should be. However yet another year and election cycle squandered because the Building Trades IP’s do not have an interconnected membership to advance workers’ rights and power. No structured and aggressive use of mass texting. No use of Twitter to leverage our combined numbers on a whole host of worker legislation. The mantra as of this conference, is to call and write our politicians on matters important to the Building Trades.

The social media that is used within the trades, is both passive and ineffective.

And because the Trades are minimally effective in leveraging social media – we find ourselves depended on the Democratic Party to advance workers issues if they choose too!

The clear majority of the Keynote will be political in nature and despite the rah rah tone, will continue to place the trades in a subservient position because of our dwindling numbers.

Also part of the focus of the Keynote will be the Building Trades market share of union work.

Spun will be the verifiable fact that the Building Trades “net” market share has continued to contract. What is very important to that statement is that in 2015, 1.6 Trillion dollars of construction was done in the US alone and Canada was rocking in construction work too!

Not commented on is the fact that this is the first time since 1973, that when construction work has boomed in the US, that the Building Trades lost work relative to the boom in work.

We will dissect today’s Keynote address in the upcoming Labor Rising Blogs with facts relative to market share increases; and spinning of the very same numbers to “cherry pick” select numbers that present a failed Value on Display strategy as a winning strategy!

And Organizing – the forgotten word in the last 3 Keynotes – will it be resurrected?

Organizing is not recruitment. It is not collaboration with business. It is not playing the victim of legislation and politics. It is not begging the industry for jobs and leaving the decision to hire us entirely in their hands. It is not HOPING market share somehow magically increases. It is not pretending that modularization and the improved construction delivery is NOT the future of construction and confronting it! It is not hiding from 21st century use of connecting the membership.

It is signing a CBA with the non-union contractor regardless if they want to or not! It is giving the anti-union contractors their wish – which is they would rather go out of business then sign a CBA.

No amount of recruitment of women, people of color and transitioning veterans is going to raise market share without signing substantially more non-union construction companies regardless if they want to join or not! The non-anti/union are reverse recruiting at a rate that shows clearly in our RETENTION numbers. Translation – we are losing the recruitment battle because the non-union has 88% of the jobs and growing. We are in demonstrated numbers, training the non-union.

More union trained skilled workers now work in the non-union then in the Building Trades. We are in fact “training the non-union” and numbers clearly support that.

Nearly 20 years of a failed Value Centric strategy has left the Building Trades on the edge of relevance.

The Building Trades can become a force for workers again- but only if they change from a business Brand and again become a Movement! ORGANIZE!

Is this the year Organizing – real organizing, is back center stage with the senior Leadership of the trades and again embraced in the Keynote?

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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