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The Infamous “They” the Building Trades Presidents Bow Down Too – Organizing Part 7 –

The title says it all. Georgine and his group of International Presidents from the mid 70’s were the first to capitulate to the Business Roundtable. Most of the specialty agreements we see today had their roots then. So, NMA is a good example. National Maintenance Agreement. Since then the good ole boys club, one after another, have perfected capitulating to management.

The Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) was created from The Business Roundtable in 2000 for the express purpose of dealing with the Building Trades’ senior leadership on CURT’s terms! The BT win-win scenario of labor/management has NEVER panned out in ANY number anywhere! We got played – move on Brother Presidents if your egos will let you. “THEY” – THESE ARE THE CURT COMPANIES IN THE PINCH POINT!

Former General President J.C. Turner of the Operators International authored a White Paper in 1997 titled “The Business Roundtable and American Labor” (link attached) on “they”. He thoroughly set forth what the trades would look like today if they did not heed his words and analysis of the Business Roundtable, which is now CURT for construction. This is the only GP I would have liked to have worked for or with.!AmKOi71GyLcgqyK4It5U8aRX-AAu?e=5DhLn2

As reasonable people in the Building Trades, we consider stuff like collaboration and marketing. But it has long ago given way to capitulation to and appeasement of management. In contrast, businesses focus on weakness, opportunities and information to be acquired and used to exploit workers for higher profits.

So, let’s exam who benefits when a marketing rep/organizer continues to use the Value on Display approach to increased market share.

First, it’s a smart business model for the non/anti-union contractor/end-user to have the trades pursue them with their Value on Display proposition. When our reps are busy trying to build a relationship and sell the non- and even the anti-union on using union labor, the rep/organizer is not out doing other concerted activities that may have a real impact on the non/anti-union end-users’/developers’ bottom line and business model. (Screw the small potatoes subs – they do what they are told by the money). We are less likely to be defending workers’ rights to a living wage and demonstrating to the community that the non/anti-union contractors’ business model may in fact be detrimental to workers and communities.

Second, because we are pursuing the non/anti-union end-user directly, we waive all secondary activity that may be available to the building trades. In addition, when we are talking to the non-union contractor, we are in fact looking for RECOGNITION of our union. Once it is established by the bad guys that this is our intent (even if it is a lie), then all secondary activity is off the table – period! One call to the NLRB and we’re gone! Get this – it is a big deal!

Third, we expose to the non-union contractor/end-user the inner workings of a local union all the way up to the international. They see turnover of reps and their abilities, temperament and habits. They can develop and implement strategies based on defeating ours.

Fourth, to sell our value, we as building trades address the things we like to hear such as “we are highly skilled” and “we have great safety training.” Put your business hat on. What the non-union contractor/end-user hears is the structure of state-of-the-art training and safety programs that they can copy and adopt in the comfort of their office and on the cheap. The non-union contractor asks questions and gets inside information so they can copy our programs for their own use. Check some of their websites under the Safety tab and you’ll find the trades’ safety stuff, sometimes word-for-word, as if by coincidence. The non-union can’t do the safety, but they can incorporate the correct language in their bid submissions. An example is IRAP apprenticeships initiatives launched to defeat our apprenticeships. We have provided information on every component of the building trades, which is readily accessible to all contractors, union or not. Meetings go on endlessly, or so they appear to those of us in the Building Trades, by design of CURT. For the contractors, it is an endless supply of information and delay, with layers of legal hurdles for labor, and all they have to say is “Let’s have yet another meeting?” The trades accommodate every need of management, and then concede on packages and conditions. Can we say chump? On the other hand, ask any contractor about their business model or to open their books and you would be told to go to Hell.

Who in the above scenarios has the advantage in the Value on Display strategy? The Building Trades with approx. 10% of the market share and declining, or the non/anti-union? Win-Win -RIGHT!

The inception of Value on Display was a gift of immense proportions to CURT. A better Trojan horse has never been built since Troy.

How CURT would destroy the Building Trades past transferring union contractors & workers via recruiting – they would employ attorneys to fight the trades at every turn.

Know your anti-union law firms and consultants, because they know you well. If you Google Union Avoidance you will get an idea of the extent to which the non/anti-union, and yes even union contractors/end-users, will go to be union free. Before any meeting with union organizers, market development reps or agents, most anti/non-union contractors have already made a rigid determination not to work with unions. They meet with us to establish Recognition/Secondary activities, and to remove as much UNCERTAINTY regarding what labor might do as the project moves forward. It then limits, to a very high degree, what the trades can do in the future. It narrows our playbook of available concerted activities going forward. How many times have market reps been falsely PROMISED some work in the future? They also learn all the latest and greatest in safety and training and at times identify those key individuals within our ranks for future possible recruitment. Check LinkedIn – see the constant flow of former reps/agents now working with a company/contractor.

Who is paying the fees to these firms? 

Certainly not small and mid-sized sub-contractors. These bucks come from the big boys. The big end users, developers, construction management firms and general contractors. Spend some time looking at the client lists of some of these firms. Even better, read the papers written by senior lawyers and consultants. Go online and get the NLRB disclosures of how they defeat us at the NLRB. Learn. The overwhelming fact is that most modern-day organizers/market development reps have literally never filed a charge or used the NLRB properly. No “turn and burn” real abilities to defend workers. Even in the Trump era we need to know the labor board. In upcoming blogs you’ll see why, and it’s not what you think.

I have attended 9 anti-union seminars, was a stealth member of the ABC as a union organizer, been to numerous CURT meetings and attended a few other events that need not be mentioned. The late Brother Hill challenged me to ID the CURT meetings I attended – he confirmed, I did.

This dirty dozen or so group of law and consulting firms run a very tight play book for the big anti-union companies. In most cases if you do your homework, you will find that they work for a lot of CURT companies, as well as others.

Jackson-Lewis                                            King-Ballow
Siegel-O’Conner                                         Ice-Miller
Sidley                                                           Hill Farrer
Labor Relations Institute                         The Burke Group
American Consulting Group                    Fisher-Phillips
Littler-Mendelson                                       Ogletree-Deakins

CURT would need a voice in national, state & local legislative affairs. How’s this lineup:

American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC     Heritage Foundation
National Right to Work – NRTW                                  Tea Party
US Chamber of Commerce         Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc – ABC

AGC – Associated General Contractors, while mixed, is proliferated with the non-union they represent.

All these groups listed above, and others, must be fed money, big money. This isn’t chump change like the anti-union lawyers and consultants (he says with sarcasm)!

The above groups, and others, are the anti-union, anti-worker entities that put the strategic policies of the Big Boys such as CURT and the National Manufacturers Association (NMA) into action. And our senior leaders have rolled over to them for decades!

CURT, NMA, etc., have extensive networks that work at the state and community level to promote their agendas working with and funding the above groups. For CURT, it is their Local Construction Users Group. They legally buy (lobby) national, state and local politicians with the money they can provide.

Since an entity like CURT works 7 days a week to bring about the demise of organized labor as we know it and in every concrete way, why is it that we feel they want to collaborate with us?

If the Building Trades allow a bully to continue to take their lunch money, then they shouldn’t be surprised when the bully takes it all!

CURT’s strategy of transferring union contractors and workers has been masterful. Labor Rising hates saying that but facts (the numbers over decades) don’t lie. Zero fake news here.

CURT has long recognized that the trades set the standard for training and has traded some jobs for access to that training. At the same time, they have worked with post-secondary community colleges and vocational tech schools to provide training in the future. As part of their overall strategy, they have picked a point in time where the technology, training, manpower, and economy all converge. IRAP is just the next manifestation on the training axis, which simply means the building trades is not a part of that equation. Not even the Value on Display temp agency Building Trades that we now are. If you look at the total number of hours the building trades have on jobs that CURT represents, then you will see how dependent we are on those industries. And EVERY industry uses less BT today, even in years of record construction, than 3 decades ago in both the U.S. & Canada. A big part of the trades’ losses is technology and construction delivery; however, that is consistent for both sides – so a push!

Finally, we are not relevant to this next generation because we primarily talk skills and not the “Value” of being union, which is the fight for middle class values.

Google “jobs” or “careers” in your craft and location. For example, careers/jobs in HVAC in Boston or electrician in Dallas. Seldom, if ever, do you find our apprenticeships as a career path on that first search page with those most-used search terms. We are increasingly irrelevant to the decisions a person makes entering the crafts. Apprenticeship is an arcane and seldom used search word, but use it in the Google search – because if your union still does not come up on the results page, you literally do not exist to the next generation of workers. For example, the IRAP mess is a real hazard – why? No mass texting program along with a solid, membership-wide communications platform The days of calling/writing your rep ended over a decade ago. Can someone please tell our IPs this?

CURT’S Mission Statement tells us all we need to know about what they think about workers and especially union workers.

The machine of transferring union workers to the non-union is in high gear. We are so well trained that there is big money in recruiting our members for leadership, operations, estimating and supervision. Non-union recruiters, like ‘i hire buildingtrades’, ‘Labor Ready’, ‘Tradesman International’, ‘Trillium’ and others work to retain union workers who are thoroughly vetted. We keep the dogs and they get the blue-chip hands.   

Several large temp agencies have now populated the country and hire our unemployed and underemployed Building Trades workers and put them to work with the non/anti-union. Tradesmen International signed an exclusive staffing agreement with the ABC. That simply means that Tradesmen is the hiring hall for the non-union. 

JC Turner’s White Paper about the Business Round Table and American Labor written in 1979 is dead balls accurate – TODAY!

How long do the trades have to be on our knees before we rise up? Unfortunately, the fight starts with our own internationals! Unf*#%ingbelievable!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising/Labor Combat

For the Organizing Blogs Part 1 thru 6 go to and click on blog tab.

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