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Brother Ed Hills New Year’s Facebook Post –


A Response too:

If you’re on Facebook – go to Ed Hill and then see post of New Year’s Eve.

The picture is the Haymarket Monument – Labors True Founders!

Even thought I was an Ironworker Organizer – the IBEW was instrumental in my organizing development. In 1993 the 6th District opened a spot for me to attend what was the only true market development course then offered in the trades. The term market development wasn’t even in the lexicon of terms back then. The technology then wasn’t around, computers and Google where still down the road. What we were taught was too stick build markets. Knowing a local’s markets and players BEFORE you stepped onto the playing field. So how to leverage SIC codes, and using the research and development tools then available. Only after having a written plan for increasing CBA’s was an IBEW Organizer then allowed to put strategies and tactics into action in the field. Use of legal and lawful labor unrest was part of the toolbox back then when the organizer could demonstrate that it would bring the necessary pressure to secure a CBA in a campaign.

I was fortunate to have a whole host of winning organizers to learn from. What is a winning organizer? A signed CBA; anything less than that would have been considered a loss back then. Just bringing in more workers was NOT considered a WIN back then as it was not considered a WIN to our Founders! Signed CBA’s where the benchmark!

By 1996 the IBEW and some of the rest of the trades abandoned what would have been Organizing as a Labor MOVEMENT. Which is imposing a CBA on the non-union regardless if they want one or not!

What was developing as a strategy by the IBEW and the trades was a BUSINESS Model! The early version of Value on Display. Most of the trades fell in line with that strategy. In 2001, The Carpenters broke from the AFL-CIO to pursue a “corporate unionism” model. And in 2002 – 2003 the rest of the trades really began to commit to a business model. Treating construction end-users and the world of construction as “CUSTOMERS”!

Brother Hill became the International President of the IBEW in January 2001 and was a leading proponent of what would become the strategy of Value on Display. Because the CUSTOMER is always right in the VOD strategy; the IBEW and all the other trades except for the Operating Engineers have continuously lost market share in every environment since then – “in context”!

Understand that 14 men have complete control of their respective internationals. The “good ole boys” has been alive and well for decades.

It is interesting that the Internationals thru there I/O and structure drove Value on Display; and shoved it down the local’s throats. Any deviation would bring the wrath of the International your way.

A cornerstone of VOD dictated to the locals by the internationals was that the IMAGE of labor had to change. The very same group of men and women that built the US and Canada and along the way help build the middle class where no longer professional enough to management and our respective internationals. The trades respective Standards of Excellence came into being. For most trades, it is category one language – which means it is mandatory to have it in all agreements. This is a pro-business document that gives management rights within our CBA’s! That is how impotent the trades have become. We are dictated to by the world of construction – case closed!

Add to that PRICE! Any time price is in the equation with regards to increasing market share – labor has lost that market! When an “ORGANIZER” says something like “we are not competitive” that local cannot win new market share. The numbers demonstrate this.

Brother Hill and the other IP’s of the trades imposed a Value on Display model on all affiliates. So, any type of labor unrest was taken off the table because management said so. Brother Hill et al own this. They also used every means of concessionary bargaining available, including new classifications to cut PRICE to get jobs and hours. Use of International Agreements escalated along with PLA’s, Project Labor Agreements. Every time a CBA is replaced by any other agreement the trades lose – net over time. As those agreements have taken hold – market share in those respective sectors has dropped “NET” since 1973. However, the Internationals continue to receive funds directly from them.

Now Brother Hill wants to play the Henry Miller card. Isn’t paying it well though. While Brother Miller certainly controlled the labor in his day – he did it in an expanding industrial environment. He could identify workers in an area. However, Brother Miller was even better at controlling the business environment that contractors worked in. He controlled means of production and companies bottom lines. He imposed CBA’s on contractors and put anti-union companies out of business.

Those that see working with community and political leaders as a main solution to the trades market share problems are unrealistic. The trades have on average 11% of that influence. 11%! So even if it is higher in your respective area – the erosion of adjacent areas of non-union will overwhelm you in time.

Brother Hill et al by design went an entirely different direction. To collaborate and capitulate to management at every turn.

His extolling the IBEW and the rest of the trades to bring in workers when the trades have only 11% of the market is not possible without bringing in massive numbers of non-union contractors. He is silent about that. Also with improvements in construction delivery and modularization contracting total hours in the workplace – not feasible.

Recruitment is not Organizing – period. Organizing is taking the non-union contractor and signing them to a CBA regardless if they want it or not. Then and only then do you have a place for workers and can fulfill Brother Millers and the other trades Founders dream of a union.

Retention which is keeping the recruited person is flat at a 1:1 ratio in most of the trades today. The IBEW is underwater of that ratio and are then in fact training the non-union. The IBEW and the rest of the trades are losing workers to retirement, the remaining baby boomers. And those they are bringing in thru recruitment to TRY and secure the entirety of the work force is just hasting our trades demise with a retention rate at or under 1:1.

Only a handful of markets can put recruited workers to work – in all other areas they replace full journeypersons. One statistic is consistent – every time a boom period of work has finish since 1973 – the trades have lost market share when they have just brought the workers in! EVERY TIME!

Should history be correct again, then those being brought in, instead of being organized; will be the very instrument of the demise of this version of the trades. Huge and very demonstrably factors are going on thru-out the trades for the last 20 years, and the IP’s ignore them, even when they are very measurable. If the trades in 2017 run the same market share game they have been running and expect a different result – they are placing the trades viability in jeopardy!

As for the Legacy of Brother Hill and his good ole boy gang of IP’s – history will be very harsh on them for not keeping the MOVEMENT alive and opening the Pandora’s box of business unionism!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017 – the trades style!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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