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Rope-a-Dope Even Ali Would Be Jealous of –

Rope a Dope

The Internationals just keep hanging on the ropes as the Rank & File wears/boxes themselves out!

Several new International Presidents in the trades and not one had competition on the convention floor. As far as we can tell neither did any of the General Secretaries, Treasurers and Vice President’s. Is the current crop of BTW all older men the best qualified? We’ll never know because without a choice, debate, vision, integrity and trust – we’ll never know. What is absolutely clear is that in the last 20 years in every measurable way, the Building Trades Rank & File have been a loser. EVERY SINGLE WAY!

Integrity is listed because these men literally have no accountability, under the present system, to the Rank & File; and can summarily dismiss them if they so choose!

Some may claim a few have earned the right to be uncontested – however these same men protect the club. Show me one dissenting vote of club members; and not the behind closed doors BS!

Not one stepping out of line and putting themselves on the line. Typically, the clubs are 20 to 40 years old, depending on what trade you’re in. History tells us that most great organization and societies die from within – because of the lack of energy and vitality needed to grow! The arrogance of leadership bestowed upon them, or taken and not earned.

The trades could have used a dart board for picking leaders in the last 40 years and fared better.

Understanding the meaning of “good ole boy” club doesn’t get any clearer than this. And all done per the constitution of most internationals – some debate on that!

So the field R&F tradespersons and some officers in the trades, keep wearing themselves out with discussion groups, Facebook groups, union activism, keeping the faith and all the while a handful of older men make every decision that affects the Rank & File. The notion that they work for us is so far removed as to be a “joke” that almost all journeyperson’s – even those working their way up into the “good ole boy” club get! It is why the R&F are so disenfranchised with our internationals – thankfully at the local level – it is the only comradery left in the trades. We are more than a check!

It is clear in the trends, numbers and decisions, that there will be no:

  • There will not be communication platforms connecting the membership – they could lose their grip on the “club”! No Mass texting, Twitter, solid website use, opposition research, etc.
  • No real/effective organizing training much less true market development because to do so jeopardizes the “club”! Local unions and DC’s power and anatomy would increase dramatically and leaders would emerge to run for high office. To many to handle. So diffuse, deflect and study the issue away. OR… send in the international reps to handle the situation.
  • No Labor Unrest of any type, because the covenant/understanding between senior labor leaders and senior construction users has forbidden it. Collaborate – most say capitulate workers’ rights away. Train and keep a pool of employees for management use and unionist at bay!
  • No defined benefit pensions. Those insolvent and fighting insolvency are on their own.

Is the trades senior leadership rebuilding the mission of a Free and Democratic Trades Union Movement into a temp agency? Recruiting labor under the guise of union activism and organizing? Giving books away to anyone that will take them, and training them on the fly? And meanwhile sitting on the bench are journeypersons that think they belong to a union. That along with high wages and benefits need to go – in the New Trade Order. Lower wages, new classifications for worker’s comp, only a defined contribution along with workers that don’t say a word. Is this the New Trades Order?

Collapsing any reasonable floor on wages, benefits and conditions to management needs and keeping the pool of “employees” large enough for the “good ole boys” and their management counterparts?

Using PLA’s instead of CBA’s as the preferred vehicle – and it’s happening fast. Any last unionist in leadership either in unions or BT are just overwhelmed and are wonderful leaders that still cling to the notion that we are all in this together. The notion of together we bargain is being rapidly replaced before their very union activist hearts to whatever the internationals dictate?

From marketing to political use, the R&F controls much of the necessary funding the internationals depend on. An understanding of your constitution and by-laws in some cases, is needed to change the dynamics. A local/district council can keep local control of funds along with what and where they go, and are used for. For those that say we are shooting ourselves in the foot – that’s been done already my Brothers and Sisters. The trades have in my lifetime gone from proud and independent labor unions that offered careers; to a “JOB” and the MOVEMENT on the edge of extinction as our Founders would have recognize.

Accountability is what a responsible and energized R&F is seeking! Not retribution or ego trips. If a leader is doing a capable job say it – however if not, question it, and provide solutions of your own. Know how funding is used. The younger generations working with true unionist need to again renew our Founders principals – here in the 21st century!

Time for the trades to learn their history, constitution, by-laws and reform! So let’s do that in the upcoming blogs!

Time for the Rank & File to quit boxing itself out while the internationals lay on the ropes!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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