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Building Trades Circumstances Increasingly Black & White –


The pictures is what the Trades once fought against, and improved with our Founders. The trades have not advanced any significant improvements for workers in over 60 years; and have continuously lost market share for the last 25 years “NET”!

For over 4 years Labor Rising has written extensively that the International Presidents can be gone around and/or over. No hyperbole what so ever. Circumstances are now such that the trades move, and move hard, or die! Even the failed business brand of Value on Display – WILL NOT survive the circumstances presently surrounding the trades having 11% of the market.

Some of the circumstances which play into this equation. Local unions and R&F think they cannot change things at the Internationals, and that the convention floors are a stacked deck. Internationals forgot that with a collapsing market share (kept in proper context) and with continuing eroding wages, low wage new classifications, benefits in crises, conditions & life on the road, that the locals and R&F would just roll over and be content with a JOB for a temp agency! Maybe not!

For example, the circumstances that led to a Trump election is a way the R&F can demonstrate the ability to deny power to the IP’s. The IP’s no longer have a seat of power anywhere. And with such a devastating turn of circumstances – PERHAPS the present strategy of the BT’s MAY change. Betting money is against that – but we remain optimistic. The election of all R’s hopefully will focus labor on worker’s issues. That we lead from the front as a MOVEMENT! A pay check and workers’ rights earned, not begged for, which will solve most issues facing our countries! This is no longer pro or con Trump/R’s, it is the circumstances that labor is confronted with! Whining and blaming is not changing that.

Circumstances now continue to foster R&F minded local/DC officers being elected. The trend of dislodging “good ole boys” & go along to get along style leaders should ramp up in the face of International pressure to tow the line. Have to break this grip, or we will continue to be a temp agency.

Other circumstances/opportunities will present themselves where members and local officers KNOWING their respective constitutions, will play not only a major roll – but a deceive roll! Members dominating a union floor when they know how. Dominating a floor brings responsibility of action. New and capable leaders will emerge. However, understand where you have “good ole boy” junk yard dogs in leadership – this will be a fight. How we prevail is by numbers and documentation of events and consistently using the minutes; and approval of the minutes effectively. For those that understand what I just wrote – you know this. For those that don’t – we need to understand it. Appealing the chairs decision, making the leadership show specific documentation of actions, changing direction and so much more. The notion you will be put in the penalty box is already there – if you have 15 years or more as a member – you are already there and being phased out in favor of lower classifications and apprentices. How long is it till you get the next job on the list?

Apprentices and low wage classifications need to pay attention to the circumstances, and what happens to them when they to get replaced with yet another group; or become high PRICE labor in the eyes of the employer and International.

Circumstances of the Constitution itself, when there is sufficient density of locals to launch changes to the constitution. Some unions have pursued changes via referendum. Most excellent. With higher density of locals/DC’s they will win. Especially with heavy foundations of minutes kept and membership voices being dominate in structured action. Attack the ambushes from the Internationals!

Another circumstance that is now present, is a way to go around the IP’s over use of specialty agreements. Locals/DC’s can legally organize those companies performing their work under specialty agreements or unions created by the Internationals to subvert the local CBA agreements. A local/DC can directly organize those employers and workers that are in your area even with those agreements.

What was just written is true in the US – you must understand the terms of 8F and 9A contracts, along with a CBA. Google them to get a sense of what was just written. Canada, we are learning about your laws with those members interested in shutting down the overuse of International agreements! We see similarities in provincial labor law to US law.

Here’s the deal. Workers, union BT workers, ALWAYS have the right to whom they want to REPRESENT them – ALWAYS. It is why you will need to have working knowledge of 8f and 9a, laws under the Department of Labor. No lawyer needed – helpful but not needed. The DOL becomes the R&F and locals/DC’s advocate. So, for instance if the local/DC is done with contracts being shoved down their throats – the local/DC can go directly to the workers in that jurisdiction, that are under those bastard specialty agreements/international unions and find out directly who THEY, the majority of WORKERS want to represent them via a vote – a 9a agreement. BT workers can also REASSIGN who THEY want to represent them – there are legal windows that are mandate by law so that can happen. ALSO, THE COMPANY IS BOUND IN THAT JURISDICTION FOR ALL JOBS GOING FORWARD! Expiration of a contract is not ALWAYS what it appears to be in this situation or CIRCUMSTANCE of both 8f and 9a. Educate yourself and we will continue to also.

Not really a poison pill any longer, as it is clear our Internationals sign deals without any locals/DC’s real input; and are doing job site deals for hours – as one would expect with a temp agency. PLA are exactly that! Huge chucks of hours. BTW – a PLA can also fall under organizing to bind multiple contractors/companies to a CBA. This is big time stuff – so don’t work without a “NET” (experience) unless the Building Trades in the area/state is also feed up with PLA’s/Specialty Agreements shoved down their throats for their own good. We are kids to the Internationals, they always know better. The Internationals forget they sprung from the locals in the beginning – not the other way around! Back to a foundation that worked for members, contractors and formed the middle class!

Another circumstance that may present itself is “say” Labor Rising or any Labor advocate CAN become a UNION easily in the US. Should workers be presented with a CHOICE of representation in a legal form and that entity wins the majority votes – they represent the workers going forward! This is not expensive! Absolutely doable – the IP’s are going to change, or be forced to change by circumstances!

Add other circumstances – what if minority groups, say Hispanic groups – form unions with stream lined, effective, cost efficient straight forward wages, benefits and conditions? What about training? Training  is increasingly going viral and replacing brick and mortar facilities rapidly.

Circumstances of VIRAL UNIONS. They have now wobbled more jobs than our Internationals. Growing at exponential numbers in some cases. They are collectively steering workers to and FROM jobs. They talk exactly like union B&S. However, they want NOTHING to do with the present trades. Major companies are finding out they must deal with them. WHEN those administrators get together which BTW is possible – workers may very well see them as the next generation of fighters for workers. Good bye old, stale and pale Building Trades. A 21st century version of the BT is taking form – and the IP’s are clueless by and large.

Circumstances of union Brothers and Sisters who WANT to fight legally and lawfully for their rights. Our IP’s have long been on the wrong side of the R&F. However, this one is critical – our own members are fit for a fight to defend workers’ rights. NOT JUST RECRUIT! Organizing is taking the non-union contractor/company regardless if they want too or not! Can’t control market share without this facet of organizing – case closed! Can’t ask the contractors – impose a CBA. Exactly as our FOUNDERS did!

Our long-replaced VALUE of a living wage, solid benefits and decent conditions on behalf of all workers are the values our FOUNDERS brought forward which have been replaced with the Value of being price competitive and trained.

Circumstances are a bitch IP’s – this is just the beginning. What side of history will senior trades leadership be on?

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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