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Building Trades Senior Leadership Keep Lowering the Bar –

low bar

During the 2016 Keynote address, Brother Mc Garvey set a “Low Bar” for market share that is being echoed by some of the respective trades IP’s.

“We are on a continued upward growth trajectory…
that has remained fairly consistent since the onslaught of the economic catastrophe of 2008.

Today, all across the board…
our workhours are up, and our membership numbers are steadily increasing.”

Market share for the building trades in 2008 was approx. 11.8 when the market crashed in the 4th quarter of 2008. By mid-2009 the trades had an average of 40% unemployment for the next couple of years. Hours went down and many members left the trades or went to work non-union.

40% of 11.8% market share is 4.72% reduction in market share & hours in 2009 and 2010.

Benchmarking is one of the single most important tasks an international undertakes.  True benchmarking starts out with a desired goal vs. a current state!

So the senior leadership of the trade’s desired benchmark goal is to exceed the hours and membership numbers of the POST-2008 stock market crash; which was itself a declining market share number then.

For those reading this, that claim that our organization has benchmarking – Labor Rising and a whole host of groups we work with call BS. While it is a true statement that you have something that claims to be benchmarking and/or performance evaluations – the fact remains that they are nothing more than the “fox guarding the hen house” flawed benchmarking.

Politics at its worse or finest depending on who you are!

Worse for Rank & File because with 1.6 trillion dollars in spending, a new record in 2015; senior leadership of the political persuasion are effectively BS the membership of that trade into thinking that they are doing anything that resembles real and sustainable growth in market share with open-ended statements such as “…our workhours are up, and our membership numbers are steadily increasing.” Politics at its worse! Pure spin of an incredibly failed strategy of Value on Display.

Finest if you are a politician, because now you can make statements that sound “good” that fly by and over the Rank & File. Hint to senior leaders – it neither fly’s by, and/or over us. We cash what checks we get, and can realistically measure lack of job opportunities and amounts of un and under-employment. Being on the road for substantial amounts of time – counts against the trades as a career.

Which takes us back to benchmarking.

Because the trades don’t hold to a desired goal that trumps any given strategy, and put in place needed factual evaluations coupled with the needed changes that can attain them – they use the most convenient benchmark – the lowest bar in which to hurdle.  The hours after the 2008 crash.

Several International Presidents have made similar statements, using the BS low bar benchmark of the post 2008 crash.

Why hours and membership numbers are at a relative PUSH for the last couple of years even at 1.6 billion is for 4 important reasons.

  1. Retention – numbers/members in vs. members leaving and/or more importantly being recruited by structured recruitment firms specializing in getting crack building trades hands for non-union contractors. This is both ongoing and cranking up with the non/anti-union having 88% of the work.
  2. Modularization/technology advancements in construction delivery. The world of construction, even with 1.6 billion dollars of construction work in both contracting and consolidating. This is also ongoing and cranking up.
  3. Continued use of a Value Centric – corporate approach to market development. Value on Display is a tool, to be used in very limited and specific circumstances. It can’t be “let’s talk to everyone”; that approach has been killing the trades for nearly 20 years now; and that is clearly demonstrated in the numbers measured anytime. So since Value on Display is a tool – what is the trade’s strategy? Written and specific strategy that can then be benchmarked against.
  4. Complete lack of organizing. Organizing is taking a non-union company and signing them to a CBA regardless if they want to or not! It is also giving the anti-union their wish – in that they would rather go out of business, then sign with a union. Organizing is not taking unlimited amounts of non-union workers via recruiting and stripping. Those are tools of organizing, it is NOT organizing. Senior leadership is terrified of even talking about this, much less training our organizers to legally and lawfully do this! Labor Rising knows this first hand. The organizers in the trades have the passion, however they have next to zero ability to win consistently because of training and international constraints surrounding them. The Organizers that attend Labor Rising learn about this and as importantly – what specifically to do about it. It is why Labor Rising in NOT well received by international types – just Rank & File officers and members!

So some of the senior politicians again have lower the bar and are passing it off as wins!

Read your respective trade’s magazines Presidents page and other membership sections to see if your IP has also lower the bar.

If you see language that compares membership and hour growth as a positive, benchmarked against post 2008 – without some qualifying language – not good Brothers and Sisters.

 “if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


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