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Brother Mc Garvey: Context Matters –

Out of Context

Flanked by the International President’s Brother Mc Garvey’s Keynote treated market share as trivial and inconsequential to the 3,000 members in attendance.

Either that, or he purposefully disrespected the combined state & local building trades leaders and knew they would “go along to get along”.

Here is a link to the 2016 Keynote  – so you can read for yourself what was said and far more importantly – what was glossed over in 5 sentences which are quoted here about market share – i.e. jobs!?!

“Welcome to the 2016 Legislative Conference for North America’s Building Trades Unions.

I am proud to say that, because of the good work of all of you in this room…

as well as the vision and dedication of the leaders who join me on this stage here today…

we have reason to be more hopeful and excited than ever before about the future economic prospects of the members and families of North America’s Building Trades Unions.

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.

And all across America… in markets large and small… we are progressively chipping away at market share.

Obviously, 2016 is a presidential election year.” Brother Mc Garvey

Brother Mc Garvey then segued to the upcoming national election – very important matter which also needed addressing.

The Building Trades leadership in praising Brother John Lewis of the US Congress, and Monsignor Gilchrest rode on the coattails of true believers of workers’ rights. These men of labor can speak for themselves, however I doubt very much if their names would be on any of our trades respective “Standards of Excellence” – which as anyone who has ever read them knows, clearly cedes all workers’ rights to our customers, end-users, developers, construction managers, GC’s and subs – union or not. A business Brand! You – we are employees in that model Brothers and Sisters – NOT MEMBERS! GET IT!

Words matter and how they are used matters more. Qualifiers and weasel words abound when talking about Building Trades market share in the last 20 plus years.

Case in point – Brother Mc Garvey said in the Keynote that – “We are on a continued upward growth trajectory… that has remained fairly consistent since the onslaught of the economic catastrophe of 2008”.

This is the lowest possible bar and measuring point he could pick. Market share is getting crushed in the real world we all live in and try to raise our families, and our leaders want to be measured against this benchmark.

Fine – then let’s measure the incredibly poor bench mark chosen in context!

1.5 Trillion dollars of construction work was done in 2015 – a new record.

In Brother Mc Garvey’s context – the trades have picked up hours and members since the collapse of 2008. In the measurable and verifiable context of the real world – since 2008 the trades have lost total “NET” market share when compared to “ALL” construction jobs created.

BTW – here is how most trades are raising members and hours these last few years – they are recruiting anyone they can! ANYONE! Ask the hundreds of memberships across North America that have sworn in quite a few new members in meeting after meeting; when there is real unemployment in those locals. MEMBERS ARE BEING REPLACED WITH EMPLOYEES that just shut up and do whatever they are told by either the union and/or employing contractor.

What isn’t being mentioned is how many of these new members we keep, and also how many of our existing membership is leaving. It is called retention and has to be measured against recruitment, so numbers in vs. numbers out! You only see the number they want to show you.

As the population goes up along with increasing spending on construction thru-out North America – the trades in context have lost market share compared to those numbers. Market share has steadily collapsed since 1973, however it has accelerated since the Value Centric strategy has been adopted starting in 2002.

So the trades can say rah rah, look how great the Value Centric strategy of treating businesses as customers has been when – EVERY NUMBER, IN EVERY INDUSTRY HAS CONTINUED TO GO DOWN – “NET”. Translation is the trades keep losing market share on an apples to apples comparison.

Some of the loss of market share is due to the rapid growth of technology in construction delivery, the rest of the collapsing market share sits squarely on a failed Value Centric strategy of appeasement of business.

Come to understand the word DENSITY as it relates to the Building Trades – ask your respective leaders to explain market share compared to density.

That is why no one from any senior office ever challenges the Labor Rising Blogs. The numbers in every way comport with our writings to a tee. These numbers are not that hard to get and one great source is the Building Trades own Construction Chart Book. Google it, it is the 5th edition and the 6th is due out shortly.

Why no one knows of this book even though it is paid for in-part by our dues, it confirms all the numbers IN CONTEXT! Various LM-2 and many other filings available to the membership also are IN CONTEXT and signed off on by the very same officers who sat alongside Brother Mc Garvey.

Also in the Keynote is this quote. Again please read the entire Keynote to be sure of context.

“Today, Americans understand all too well that real, median household income peaked at $58,000 in 1999…and that it has been sliding ever since.

Today, it’s only $53,000.

Cheap labor…and the unfettered ability to exploit that labor without consequence…
is eroding the economic and social fabric of America.”

WOW – is that the “pot calling the kettle black”. Since the early 70’s, but especially since the late 90’s, the trades have embarked on every type of concessionary bargaining possible.

Reducing wages, benefits, conditions, ratios, new classifications, new contracts and agreements and far more.

We in the trades have more than contributed to the “RACE TO THE BOTTOM” – we have led it!

A key concept of the “Value Centric” strategy is to have a competitive price and “work with the industry regarding costs”

Anytime the literal words cross the mouths of organizers and market development reps that the trades have to be competitive – they do not understand labor’s role in North America.

Labor’s role as a Movement is to balance big capital, and when necessary fight for our rights to do that!

We are to raise up workers to our level and that is imposed on business regardless if they want it or not.

Ask our Founders! They would be pissed with the BS they now see!

As you read this, you are all aware of the rest of the CIO fighting. The SEIU, Fight for $15, CWA, Nurses United and many more. Only the trades collaborate; and it clearly and magnificently has failed in every number – in context, measured at any time. Now that’s one hell of a statement to be dismissed.

For quite a while now anytime truth and hard vetted numbers go up against power – power has won!

The trades are being re-made to service big construction and provide them with employees. Corporate unions – which is a fancy way of saying temp agencies. Workers without voice!

For those Building Trades Leaders that have TRIED as Brothers and Sisters to go along because we are one – understand our Internationals are on an entirely different path as it relates to our identity as a MOVEMENT with a Value of a living wage’s, good benefits and fair working conditions. A voice!

If that is you’re understanding of why you do your job then Labor Rising is the program that reflects that.

The lines between what a movement is and a business brand are clearly drawn with this last Keynote.

Labor warriors/activist need to show up for this internal fight. It is exactly the type of leaders that call Labor Rising/Labor Combat.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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