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Building Trade Owned and Operated Construction Management Company – Organizing Part 8 –

A brief history: Nearly 30 years ago the Milwaukee Building Trades Council put into place a Construction Management Company called CCM (Complete Construction Management). It was designed by Brother Brent Emons to combat the construction managers then coming into being.

A construction manager’s entire purpose is to reduce costs to the end-user/clients they are working for, along with making a very substantial profit themselves – adding yet another layer to the total cost of the project.

Take a guess where the money comes from to achieve the 2 purposes above. If you guessed union contractors and union wages, you’d be right! This is big reason why we continue to have all the specialty agreements along with the increased use of PLAs (Project Labor Agreements), with more and more concessions and less and less market share. Can’t get blood from a turnip much longer! 

This concept of CCM was nearly 30 years ahead of its time and is very viable today. In most Building Trades Councils that Labor Rising visits, it is the for-profit construction managers that are squeezing the unions off the jobs acting on behalf of their clients. The “good cop – bad cop” games played between the end-user, developer, construction manager and the general contractor are consistently pitting one union against another, and union vs non-union.

CCM was created by Brent to get union contractors and union workers on the job in Milwaukee. CCM also acted as a PLA for the job long before PLAs were around and provided craft integrity and jurisdictional resolution. It would be the construction manager of choice for any union pension-funded jobs. Many real estate managers take union pension funds and build quite a few projects with non-union. That has been going on for decades. CCM would be a force to bid public and private funded jobs of all types. It was fully implemented and up and running and was hated by the for-profit construction managers.

CCM was in the “black” by its third year. It sent a clear and powerful message to the CMs then coming into business and their clients. 30 years ago, much of the construction was done union in Milwaukee – so a deal was made to suspend CCM because it truly would compete with for-profit CM on just too many jobs.

If the Building Trades leadership resurrected this strategy for areas that could use it, the for-profit construction managers business model and profit margins will be in jeopardy. This matters because the for profit construction managers represent a big part of the cost of the job to the end-user/client! The Building Trades with substantially lower profit margins become competitive with the for-profits CMs.                                                                         

The for-profit CMs are going to hate this; however, in a lot of areas throughout the country this is the only vehicle available to use to get unions on a job NOW! Many other areas need a competitive tool to market unions and their contractors in entire regions and sectors. Value on Display has clearly not been able to dent these markets.

This is not theory or “what if.” The documents exist intact to provide the platform to move quickly and decisively to implement CCM in today’s environment. Building Trades Councils can be construction managers if done properly.

It thwarts nearly all anti-union initiatives at all state and federal levels because of its structure! RTW and most of the current anti-union legislation is thwarted and can go to hell!

As to how to fund CCM, look at our current budgets for political activity, labor/management relations, the use of contractors’ crack (aka market recapture funds, won’t need them any longer), representational and market development activities – all which have NOT led to increased market share “net”. All or part of these budgets can be redeployed “if” we develop Union Construction Management entities. Now that’s a real Value-Added concept – a WIN/WIN scenario for all but the CM. So sad!

As an example, I’ve recently been in Washington State and Pennsylvania, and in both of those states the middle is infested with anti/non-union contractors. Other states have similar situations and this concept can change that. Think RTW states and low market share states, a clear majority. Think sectors of industrial and maintenance we are locked out of, and we now would have the vehicle to get back into those markets.

Underfunded pensions would be the clear winner with a Union Owned Construction Manager.  Because the union owned CCM can set profits margins far below industry standards – for profit CMs could not compete. Any threat by them would be met by a viable competitor – The Building Trades.

We have enough contractors, supervisors, workers, funding and clients to do this. Any non-union contractor that would want to bid on jobs would HAVE TO sign a CBA.

CURT would be very interested in this concept because right now they pay for a dumpster being moved on a job. The paperwork/costs are off the charts to end-users. We could set a negotiated rate far more competitive than the for profit CMs CURT uses! And we could pay real packages. This is not pie in the sky – it can happen.

The “sword” can cut both ways, and what is a dying Building Trades relationship with all industries could flip very dramatically. We have been on CURT’s jobs for decades and know every nook and screw up. If our numbers are well below those of existing CMs – WELL, it’s all about money and a job done well and on time.

The entire legal framework exists, which is hundreds of legal hours necessary for CCM to be viable. Done, and still viable per the lawyers who have reviewed them! They are being made available by Brother Emons thru Labor Rising to again provide a forceful, real world solution to increase market share before we are dead. The Building Trades at the local, state and national levels can be our own legal construction managers thru consortiums of regional and national unions and building trades! Think of the Gulf States with a Building Trades CCM and many other parts of the U.S. The lawyers would have to chime in on if this can be done in Canada.

Why are 14 International Presidents & the President of NABTU still refusing to do this even in heavy non and anti-union areas and industries? What the hell is going on? They keep saying they want to do something BOLD & GAME CHANGING – well here it is!

The CCM document includes:

A complete Business Plan. Statement of Purpose. Business Philosophy. Policy & Goals. Overview of the Business. Operations. Timetable & Funding. Competition. Promotion Strategy. Management of Company. Organizational Chart. Strengths & Weaknesses. Complete Market Survey of Target Area. 5 Year Budget.

READ THESE! Quick fluid read(s) that will renew our pride as builders! Thank you Brother Emons for the vision.

The Articles of Incorporation are completely done and living.

It is a potent weapon for those Building Trades Councils aggressive enough to pursue it, with minimal downside risk.

Articles of Incorporation –!4091&authkey=!AOLovtNorbitcQ0&ithint=file%2cpdf    

Business Plan of CCM –!4095&authkey=!AC5adMs3LjYq448&ithint=file%2cpdf   

Bylaws of CCM –!4096&authkey=!AH1pjd4PrdA50II&ithint=file%2cpdf       

Shareholders Meeting of CCM –!4093&authkey=!AHd1LEVzccM0_Bw&ithint=file%2cpdf  

Meeting Notes of CCM #1 –!4097&authkey=!AK4LcK9Whc4I2ec&ithint=file%2cpdf   

Meeting Notes of CCM #2 –!4094&authkey=!APLnoyRadbraz7g&ithint=file%2cpdf   

Meeting Notes of CCM #3 –!4092&authkey=!AGDOJj0T-UAEmfk&ithint=file%2cpdf

Share with Building Trades leaders in your area & state. You may have to cut & paste links.

For Organizing Parts 1 thru 7, go to and click on the blog tab.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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