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Change is a Six-Letter Word that Evokes Self-Doubt in our International Presidents –

Thankfully, that was not the case for Brother Brent Emons. Throughout his career as an Ironworker BM/Agent for Local 8, he consistently demonstrated willingness to change as needed. He put in place strategies & solutions that worked and made his trade, and other trades, viable in the Milwaukee area and all-around Wisconsin. Oftentimes he maneuvered those changes by himself, after which he went to the other trades to propose or pitch what he felt would work for them too. CCM or Complete Construction Manager was but one of many visionary strategies he proposed. There are those who talk a good game and very few that actually do what’s necessary. Let’s consider what CCM can do for the entire trade movement now that the industrial modularization era is here!

What can CCM, or a company more aptly named along the lines of industrial modularization, do for the trades today? First, clearly we need hours and jobs to stay in the construction game in the next couple of decades and beyond if we are sharp about it!

What is a DISRUPTOR? The article link below is an easy to medium read and the one Labor Rising picked to clearly explain what is happening right now:  https://constructible.trimble.com/construction-industry/9-construction-industry-trends-that-define-the-next-normal We are using our full Mailchimp index with this and future blogs and will reach out to approximately 11,000 tradespersons and officers. We know that most Rank & File generally won’t read a long blog, much less this attached article. However, our 11,000 direct contacts, along with those resulting from our membership in 72 FB groups totaling nearly 323,000 participants, should get this article on the map. It is to that end we will go the full monte because Part 3 of Labor Rising’s solutions depends on it. So, we will swing for the fences! If you value your career, pension & H&W as both as a R&F member or as an officer, consider getting up to speed before this train runs us over – thank you.

The question or challenge becomes why can’t the Building Trades be a disruptor?

An internal locus of control is defined by psychologists as the belief that our successes and failures mainly result from things we do. People and organizations with an external locus of control believe their successes and failures are mainly determined by forces outside themselves.

We call ourselves professionals, so DAMMIT, BE A PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMER-DRIVEN UNION CONTRACTOR. We call ourselves a business, so, LET’S BE A BUSINESS!!! Take and use the initiative from within.

The world of construction is again at an inflection point. Industrial level modularization is NOT a passing fad. However, it can be a BIG-TIME entry point for the trades should they cease the moment. Almost all that has come before in how we build is essentially invalid starting now! These markets are the starting point: healthcare & senior housing, low-income housing, commercial office building to 30 floors, multi-floor residential condos to 30 floors, student housing, hotels and a few more types of buildings.

The hours for the trades will fall precipitously each year starting in approximately 3 years from 2021 in these sectors. Labor Rising has totally changed our program to reflect what organizing can look like starting this year to catch up and be ahead of that timetable.                                                                               

Technology has caught up to the archaic way we have built to date. Block chain is replacing the financial aspect of securing jobs and the timetable and number of meetings. When Labor Rising first used the word OS2, few believed that we stated it correctly. They thought it to be a misprint! All industries are light years ahead of this operating system and yet this is a quantum leap for construction.

Trades will no longer have leverage to get a job either on the inside or outside because it is no longer  the pyramid type build . All sectors above will be done in an assembly line industrial setting and shipped for installation!

Carbon-based workers will give way to silicon-based construction practices for much of what we do now.

Alternatively, CCM can:

  • Become a player in the construction industry – not an entity looking in from the outside – hopefully finding a niche when none will otherwise exist.
  • Be the corporate partner to the building and installing of these modules. A construction manager brings all the services together necessary to that end. A company like CCM allows for us to do just that.
  • Work directly with industrial players – cut out current CM/GC. Yes, cut out! CURT stills need existing facilities to be refitted and service plant shutdowns. CCM can do that job with far less expense using union trades. CCM does NOT have to mark up the job at all if it so chooses. NO ONE can compete with a union-owned construction company. We know every facility and can be hugely effective. Since it is all about money – then let it be all about our money!
  • Be one point of contact for sales – not 14 different unions with various agendas to work with from an owner’s or construction manager’s point of view. This is by definition a PLA. Carpenters are in or out. However, that applies for ALL work with the union owned CCM and outside of CCM for the carpenters.
  • Mega projects and industrial use of CCM.
  • Be a vehicle for non-union areas. CCM can hire non-union contractors and have them double breast back to a union CBA in an area – or they may use a participation agreement.

Also:  

  • CCM is a for profit company, not a 501c; however, we can cut our price to just pay overhead & operating expenses and box out our for-profit competitors until they fold their tent(s) and go out of business. A different type of organizing! CCM can hold profit if and when that point is reached. What it can do with profits is very flexible. The trades can have several specialty type CCM’s tailored to fit an industry’s need.
  • Stock can only be redeemed at purchase price; however, they can lose value if CCM has a political leadership instead of true construction professionals at the helm. This would be a huge test to the IPs’ collective egos.
  • Develop attractive hiring packages for senior CCM leaders to compete in industry. Get the best people who will excel with changes in an industrial modularization & miniaturization world and put them in place.
  • Hide in the weeds – existing corporate laws cannot be changed without affecting current companies. Get it?
  • Funding for stocks can come from all sorts of marketing losers, such as market recovery funds, advertising, travel junkets and far more. Locals, DC’s and internationals can buy stocks and cannibalize those funds where the return on them is at or almost zero!
  • Provide bonding and insurance to job and underlying contractors.
  • Be signatory contractor to the various contractor associations which the trades belong too.
  • Be an OCIP – CCIP for workers comp and make a lot of $$$ on that, which is presently done all the time.
  • For our signatory contractors, CCM cannot at this point in time hire workers directly, so you will be on the job doing what you do best.
  • CCM is a vehicle for use on pension funds’ real estate investments to build union and also hire CCM to do it!
  • Hours will be coming in and union pensions, H&W and general funds can heal themselves with a CCM concept.

Now let us take a combined deep breath and really play.

  • Temp agencies, according to reported numbers, made approximately $161 BILLION in revenues in 2019 in the U.S. They are a big pain in organizers’ asses, as are 1099’s – kind of the same thing. Almost certainly, the trades could make Labor Secretary Walsh’s NLRB life easier by being a true temp company for construction and various industrial needs!
  • 36% of that revenue in 2019 was for industrial temp – much of it being for construction temp hires! How would the trades like a piece of that pie?
  • CCM, or more exactly a variation of it, can provide skilled hardcore construction pros to the construction & industrial industry. Understandably, Most Favored Nations clauses need to be upheld and/or revisited. Having said that, the world of construction is 87% non/anti-union. The markup for overhead and profit of the temp agency hovers around 1.1 and higher depending on skills that are needed. So, for example: If the temp worker is dispatched and paid at $18 per hour, and the temp agency charges another 1.1 markup fee for overhead and profit – do the math. $18 x 1.1 = $19.8 to the temp agency plus the $18 paid to temp worker adds up to $37.80 per hour.
  • We have solid skilled workers (journeypersons & apprentices) all over North America that should be out working, and they are stuck waiting on a list at the hall. Once on the list they have to file for unemployment and do any number of side jobs to survive. The entire North American continent needs them. WTF am I missing here? They stay on the list and keep their spot, but in the interim can be dispatched to any number of assignments. CCM, or whatever we chose to call the union-owned temp service, does not need to pull $37.80 or more. The union-owned temp company needs little profits – only overhead. The union worker on the list will make less than full scale more often than not, but far more than they make on unemployment. We will need to work hard to throw some money into H&W, even if partial hours can be bought to keep a member as solvent as possible in their H&W. The journeyperson may whine and cry a bit (OMG they can not have steak and Coors) but they don’t go broke either. Over a career they will smooth out their lives, career earning & roller coaster life in the trades big time without major breaks in service.
  • They can also be sent to service, maintenance and industrial groups outside of Most Favored Nations circumstances. North America is jam packed with expansive areas that have zero union presence! We won’t even be salts. We will just do our jobs. And when we show other workers what unions can do and the money that can be made, as well as the training received, the rest will fall in line with some work. Historically, we claim that relationships foster acceptance of unions; so, create a structure of when, who and how we service those partnering with CCM and Building Trades unions. Union tradespersons work non-union ALL the time. We say let’s formulize it to benefit the customer and us. Non-union is not anti-union!
  • We can make contractors out of our members. Some have tried, mostly in vain to do this, but most of the local unions that try – go through the motions resulting in window dressing. However, locals such as IBEW 103 is not window dressing – they have grown big numbers of contractors from their membership. Call them and see what they have accomplished. Whatever the F*@# they are doing, it’s working, so try to work as hard as they do! Little becomes big!
  • Plumbers 911 had/have the right idea; however, in doing our research they have too many moving parts. One call is all a typical customer is willing to make. ONE! No patience for “Well, we have to do this step and then that step and yada yada yada. One call!
  • With a CCM vehicle(s) the trades corporations can operationalize the business jargon like free, exclusive, easy, limited, get, guaranteed, best, etc.

All of the above comments have been done in the trades. They are not Labor Rising’s ideas. Often LR CANNOT put the proper name(s) on those that deserve the credit and have done much because they are under duress from guess who? Brent is not such a person.

Labor Rising is the combination of “ALL” good work done by many others that is incorporated into Labor Rising’s training, which reflects both where we are, but more importantly, where we need to go! Our training program is totally getting revamped to fit the times. If we keep doing the status quo and/or hope for a “Hail Mary” we will die!

Why did CCM cease doing business in the mid 90’s (fair question)? CCM was in the “black” within 18 months after startup. They had the attention of the newly minted CM’s in the area, along with the GC’s. Many of the trades that were signed with the GC’s put pressure on the unions to terminate being their competitors. Brent Emons ceased his input regarding CCM due to personal reasons. Since CCM made its point to the Wisconsin and Milwaukee world of construction, the current board decided to cash out and returned every penny to the trades owning stock. In hindsight, that decision may have been short-sighted. But that is armchair quarterbacking. Today is not 30 years ago! Also, as LR has trained hundreds of unions we have found other creative mechanisms that no internationals appear to have entertained.

FINALLY – 😊 The Carpenters have dissolved St. Louis DC and shipped its 20,000 members to Chicago. If you believe for a moment that it was because of the political doings of the then St. Louis boss, you may want to revisit that thinking. In short order there will be more consolidations and the carpenters have to be extremely flexible in their new role as labor partner to the era of industrial modularization. They have chosen to be servants.

We, the trades, can chose to be owners and model the correct labor/management future of construction.

Co-ops do it all the time and many are massive. Why not us? Hey IP’s – play big for once in your lives and make the FOUNDING fathers & mothers proud!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

Brent Emons – Milwaukee BT – CCM – Hours –

Labor Rising readers meet Brother Brent. Brent is the creator and author of CCM (Complete Construction Manager), which was a Construction Manager exclusively owned by the Milwaukee Building Trades in the early 1990’s. In our next blog we’ll provide more detail on his bio, as well as how valuable these concepts are to address the current state facing the building trades.  In preparation for our next informative blog – review the links provided at the end of this blog, as they demonstrate some of the legal work involved – you’re sure to come away with appreciation for the work needed to produce these documents and strategies.

Introducing CCM which is part 2 of a 3-part blog geared to solutions for the Building Trades in the era of industrial modularization and miniaturization.

Part one dealt with the carpenters. In summary, get rid of them throughout North America and declare their jurisdiction vacant and enforce it! Forget all the sob stories. Leaving the carpenters quasi-affiliated and on the margins in many areas will result in the balance of the trades being odd-trade(s)-out of construction as the decade unfolds.

Part 2 has EVERYTHING to do with hours – those that will be lost in the upcoming decade and how specifically to replace and even increase them!

Brent is a visionary in the world of organizing and building a union market. He doesn’t just talk – he solves issues with structured actions and strategic thinking. He has a proven track record of CBA’s signed, along with measurable hours of work added by strategic actions of organizing. CCM is just part of that track record. In LR’s opinion, probably the most important of many.

These are the sectors which are at the core of the first wave of using industrial level modularization: healthcare, senior housing, low-income housing, commercial office building to 30 floors, multi-floor residential condos to 30 floors, student housing, hotels, and a few other types of buildings. It is not a coincidence whatsoever that these markets were picked. They make money and can be produced on an industrial scale on a factory floor. Simply put, they are the low hanging fruit of industrial level modularization and will make big $$$$ well past what they do now for disruptors and investors. A lot more!!

Since most locals throughout the trades rely heavily on the hours in the above sectors to a high degree, a train wreak is coming down the pike for the trades. Perhaps the Boilermakers are less affected in the early years, but the rest of the trades are on the track already!

A consistent loss of 10% to 15% of hours and more year over year and even so-called healthy pensions and H&W funds go on the chopping block. This isn’t fear mongering – it is math. The trades MIGHT be able to take that kind of hit short term; however, the more hours your local loses in the above markets, the quicker those funds WILL fail! As union leaders and trustees, back those hours out of your funds calculations starting in approximately 3 years and see what the real hard numbers tell you. The sooner you do this the better for your participants and union members. You cannot smooth these lost hours for very long. They are not coming back! This calculation will move the “good ole boys”, or perhaps give rise to new leaders. In many areas the effects of modularization will be even sooner. Time is not on the side of the trades’ pension, H&W and general funds.

For locals doing heavy industrial work, modularization and miniaturization WILL have a parallel action; however, those are big hour jobs. Take even a couple jobs off the books or have substantially reduced hours and what happens to the pensions, H&W and general funds? And it will be more than just a couple of jobs.

The pyramid style of running construction projects is dead and/or dying NOW. It is over – we need to get that thru our thick skulls. As the Marines say, “adapt & overcome”. Just being a temp agency with best-in-class training and appeasement of management is not enough in the era unfolding!

The sheer number of total constructors and workers, union or not, is going to be put into a shredder. At a projected loss of 60% to 80% of total skilled workers & HOURS no longer needed in the above sectors going forward, where & specifically how are the locals, DC’s and internationals going to replace those hours?

This introductory blog tees up CCM (Complete Construction Management) for our next blog.

Value on Display professes to be “business oriented” – we (the trades) are “professionals”, and we interact with “customers” in the construction world. We appear to be totally confused about how to operationalize the above business words, nor do we make effective use of other business vernacular, such as free, exclusive, easy, limited, get, guaranteed, best, etc. VOD is a total joke as a strategy and as a business proposition. Measurable hours and market share for VOD’s entire history is conclusive— IT IS A LOSER!

Why? Because if you asked each local, DC or international marketing rep to write down, in their own words, what the Value on Display strategy is, how confident are you that they would be consistent?

CCM was designed far ahead of its time to use true business terminologies & actions in the correct context and setting. As for HOURS: CCM will turn a train wreck into a bullet train if the senior leaders will adapt and overcome!

LINKS HERE:

Articles of CCM Incorporation: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwsE741khfQsVeXn?e=IFalzF

Business Plan: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwpYNOemTE-Y2Ha-?e=MJlNqF

Bylaws: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwiX19QC-CoRGe6y?e=xGSEiX

Meeting Notes 1: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwdBj6Y1yfAZc0KQ?e=LzDtPP

Meeting Notes 2: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwZdP0LFjmkN3_ko?e=OSGxVa

Meeting Notes 3: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwXAkJLCSaqUzW-R?e=Zgq0X2

Stockholders Meetings: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcggwMHqF1hPTzYGu5S?e=tda61W

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

The Reality of the Carpenters and the Building Trades Today –

Labor Rising got sidetracked from our goal of producing solutions in these next successive blogs; however, with all the responses from all the trades we wanted to respond to those who commented.

The Labor Rising blog of 2 weeks ago, titled Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight, elicited many reactions – far more than we could respond to.

Overwhelmingly, carpenters’ responses (93 of them) gravitated along these lines:

  • We are the oldest of the trades.
  • We produce the highest number of superintendents.
  • No one can do our work without screwing it up.
  • Management always calls us to run the job.
  • Jesus was a member – just kidding.

That covers the gist of carpenters’ responses, with many variations of the same themes. Additionally, approximately 1/3 of their comments included a torrid number of expletives.

Labor Rising’s response got most of those commentators’ attention. It was simple, direct, respectful and will bear out in short order: “Who cares!?!”

In the era of industrial modularization, not one iota of the above comments and most other phrases, including skills and training, is relevant to the way we will build in the oh so near future.

Not to be out done, the comments from nearly all the other trades echoed the carpenters’ sentiment that only their own particular trade can singularly handle their work well.

Almost to a person, those to whom we responded believe that building in tomorrow’s world will remain the same as how things were done yesterday and continue to be done today! (As an example of how that mindset impedes preparation for change, think about when computers became an integral part of every business. Having basic skills to work with them counted for zero when the next generation came out without adaptation to the change).

It is clearly apparent that the Rank & File for all the trades are NOT ready for the train wreck that is headed their way – well within the end of this decade, and sooner in some cases.

Some trades had their respective conventions these last few months. Labor Rising did not see one committee charged with what an industrial level of modularization means to the Rank & File and our pensions. If we missed it, please let us know and be specific with details.

As we wrote just a few blogs ago, nothing changes for our senior leaders – NOTHING! Industrial modularization is the most significant change coming our way, and we are standing squarely on the tracks with not a clue of what to do.

Additionally, if the trades either organize and/or market (VOD) to increase their respective market share in the sectors of healthcare & senior housing, low-income housing, commercial office building to 30 floors, multi-floor residential condos to 30 floors, student housing, hotels and a few more types of buildings, they are digging an even deeper hole for themselves & their pensions by the end of this decade!

Think what that statement means, please. The more hours a local has in these sectors today translates into a commensurate sized hole in hours for the pension and jobs in the field. The 2 main drivers of the pensions are investment returns and hours. Nearly ¼ of all multi-employer funds today are taking hits in funding. Take those hours from the above sectors out of the equations and they fail – done deal! Even a high percentage of “green” funds will fail, depending on what percentage of total hours come from the above sectors.

Modularization of industries is also ramping up big time. This is a one/two punch, and we just go to convention and pursue the status quo. No politician, no NLRB changes can stop what is coming down the pike.

Infrastructure spending only speeds the impending change that much quicker. The sheer loss of jobs and skills as the decade unfolds puts the union trades behind the 8-ball.

Those sectors being modularized, along with some industries, will knock out approximately 60% to 80% of all trades needed in the field by end of decade and beyond. Workers will install a building, not build, or erect it. The rest is built on a factory floor or fab shop – get it?

The R&F cannot have the same arrogance that many have with the non-union workers – meaning the arrogance of “only we can build”. Almost 90% of ALL work done is non-union!

And now both non-union and union are out because technology will replace both of them.

Our senior leaders cannot and will not help us – no different than the last 50 years of “NET” market share loss. And yet the R&F will not demand a plan from any level leader!

They got theirs. The R&F is, as always, are on their own.

As we opened up with, those carpenters who had their pride challenged will come to find out that what has been done up to now counts for nothing. It is what are the carpenters and other trades are going to do – NOW that matters long-term.

Labor Rising would get rid of the entity called the carpenters. They do not fit into a solution going forward in our strategy – declare their jurisdiction vacant. Enforce it! The carpenter’s leadership put themselves into this position, not the R&F. The non/anti-union and double-breasted constructors are going to be hard enough to beat in an industrial modularization era. Having the carpenters in the mix is just digging our own graves.

Labor Rising will get back to solutions in our next blog.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight –

The trades’ decades old “strategy” of Value on Display, concessionary wages & benefits, PLA’s, and every type of appeasement to construction management have had the net effect of bringing a pocketknife to the fight to represent union workers & raise market share!

In the era of industrial level modularization, the trades will face a machine gun of change by the end of this decade. The senior trades’ leaders appear to be clueless on what is effective, as these appeasements to management will be meaningless in this era.

The areas of construction that will be modularized first are healthcare, senior housing, low-income housing, commercial office building to 30 floors, multi-floor residential condos to 30 floors, student housing, hotels and a few other types of buildings that will be constructed on an industrial level of modularization before the end of this decade.

All locals and DC’s that build these structures are going to lose hours to a huge degree as these sectors become mainstream modularized. Zero amounts of would of, could of and should of will change this from happening. Keep in mind that industrial and power, as well as other industries, will also increasingly use modularization and miniaturization in the same time period with the same goal of eliminating field hours and skills needed to complete a project or man an outage.

Labor Rising has a set of strategies, that are continually fine-tuned in measurable ways with the help of expert (winning organizers & agents), to deal with change in construction before there is another Valentine’s Day massacre of hours and jobs – this time in union construction!

3 main areas are top of the list to change this trajectory:

#1 – Carpenters. For decades the trades have tried in vain to stem the tide of carpenters’ aggressive jurisdictional attacks.

For example, the carpenters are NOT a Building Trades affiliate. In theory the carpenters should have zero input at any level in the trades. And yet – they do. Many BT executives have let them remain in various councils around North America. Those leaders have felt strongly, and in good faith, that brotherhood is paramount to maintaining a strong united front when dealing with construction management. Many councils feel they have been successful at both the state and local levels. The thinking has been to keep them close and “work” with them – and yet:

  • Every measurable activity shows that the carpenters are worse today, especially in jurisdiction – NET – than in the past, if that is even possible! Carpenters are looking to survive in the modularized era, and they have zero respect for union workers, theirs, or anyone else’s – so snap out of it trades! The thinking above WILL NOT be of value to anyone other than the carpenters and management going forward! Case-closed.
  • LM’s paint a picture that they may use money earned in areas they are in to attack those areas they are not in or want to encroach upon.
  • The carpenters build relationships with the councils that include them, only to then use those relationships to their singular advantage.
  • Of course, management wants the rest of the trades to “work with the carpenters” and them – it is to both of their advantages. As of today, the carpenters CANNOT do the rest of all the trades’ work on the above sectors. This window will close by end of decade. NOW is the time to skillfully instruct management that the rest of the affiliated trades can do the carpenters’ work and declare the carpenters’ jurisdiction vacant once and for all. Force construction management into a decision about who they want doing their jobs going forward. No bluffs, no whining, be responsible for a decision and know our Founders (especially the Carpenters Founder) have to be rolling over in their graves!
  • Get rid of the carpenters on all affiliated union pensions. The investment managers may have to be bullied (of course, within fiduciary considerations) if necessary to use only affiliated trades on union only construction. They will lose the carpenters’ investments; however, they may gain increased investments from the rest of the trades.
  • Go after all carpenters’ contractors that do ANY work outside of the carpenters’ jurisdiction. Electricians and roofers are top of the list with a few other trades joining in that mix. When we say “go after” we mean organize via 8f or 9a and win the workers and the WORK of the contractor. Do not just take your jurisdiction back – attack them across the board and do ALL the work of the carpenter contractor you win. Scores of organizing drives will spread the carpenters out thin. Do it! Also, the heretofore carpenter contractors and carpenter R&F will need to become signatory affiliates to stay in business. This is not theory – do the above and it will happen. As an example, do the scaffolding within the affiliated trades. We are trained and/or can be. The big and small scaffold companies will need to sign with the BT. Use this thinking for ALL of the carpenters’ work.
  • The carpenters are now in the cat bird seat regarding modularization, even if by happenstance. To keep the carpenters in BT councils at any level throughout North America is fool hearty given the stakes that are present! Can leadership please lead! And for those affiliated BT locals that signed with the carpenters – think St. Louis, for example – contempt is the only word we can think of that is safe to print (in Labor Rising’s humble opinion)! These locals occupy even a lower status than the carpenters themselves.
  • Both union and non-union contractors are going to lose huge amounts of hours relative to their market share in the modularized era. However, on the union side any substantial loss of hours will doom both the trade and their respective pensions. We cannot leave the trojan horse of the carpenters play both sides. Add in the double-breasted companies and the affiliated trades CANNOT have ANY carpenters in the house – ANY! Now is the time to fight or die. Breslin in reverse.

#2 solution will be laid out in the next blog and puts the above bullets on steroids.

The Carpenters have to go, literally. In the era of modularization, new-build field hours are going to be reduced by 60% as a starting point, with a realistic goal of 80% as it hits its stride by those investing in it. If it was any other disruptor other than Berkshire Hathaway, Labor Rising would take those numbers with a grain of salt and marginal credibility. Beating against modularization and miniaturization is suicide.

Not one BT council should have any carpenters affiliated with them whatsoever. Not on the exec board, not in committees, not on pre-jobs – nowhere.

With real leadership, all the above bullet points CAN BE accomplished in 6 months, save the organizing bullet. The by-laws of the trades are quite clear – so follow them! According to the by-laws the carpenters are OUT! The trades have a huge anchor around their collective necks – so lose it!  

Move leaders at all levels – move!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

Inevitability – meet the “good ole boys” –

The construction of healthcare & senior housing, low-income housing, commercial office building to 30 floors, multi-floor residential condos to 30 floors, student housing, hotels and a few more types of buildings are going to be constructed on an industrial level of modularization before the end of this decade. We know some of the above sectors are NOT typically classified as commercial; however, Warren and others are going to do it anyway. Buckle up buttercup! Labor Rising absolutely expects residential family construction to be on this list at some point soon, per the reported news in this arena. Other disruptors already have their eyes on residential.  

A timeline for this inevitability was provided by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway press announcement on modularization. Berkshire “expects” returns within 10 years. Other disruptors will have to keep up with that bogey; and we expect BH will buy up any of those that can’t.

With over 100 billion on the balance sheets – BH will meet those goals! Warren’s track record reinforces that prediction.

Berkshire is going all in on construction via modularization in the above markets as a core component to the BH portfolio.  

So, what are the international unions’ plans to replace those hours lost to the industrialization of modularization which, again, is well on its way by the end of this decade?

In 2019 U.S. construction total was $1.3 TRILLION.

Each local and district council has different mixes of construction. How many hours can the trades “NET” lose before our local/DC pensions become permanently underfunded? This is NOT hyperbole – this is what is going down.

What is the “game plan” of the senior elected representatives of each trade? Has anyone seen and/or even heard of anything that resembles a game plan? At conventions, agents’ meetings, industry meetings, marketing meetings – anywhere?

The word Titanic comes to mind and the “good ole boys” at the steering wheel appear quite content to sail into a field of KNOWN icebergs without a clue of how to come out on the other side!

The trades cannot take even a 10% hit on hours without a major interruption in job availability and a devastating impact on pensions. Even a great infrastructure package will not repair the kind of hours that will be lost. All reports have modularization reducing field hours by 60% and more. It will also eliminate most skills now needed. And keep in mind the modularization and miniaturization of industrial work is also ramping up.

Decades ago, Brent Emons and the Milwaukee Building Trades demonstrated the way to address this inevitability with a Construction Manager solution.

Labor Rising and others have reproduced those documents several times in many blogs. Certainly, they were way of ahead of their times – but if used today, they’d be spot on!

The “good ole boys” keep ignoring this strategy. The Construction Manager owned by the trades can be a strategy to get through the icebergs, fund both rank & file jobs and keep our pensions funded until we transition out of them. Hint – hint!

In the next blog, we will once again examine the Construction Manager idea in a light that will produce the hours and jobs needed.

There are no more status quo tomorrows for the trades. What is happening to EVERY industry in North America is here today for the building trades – technology driven construction modularization.

We cannot leave it to the “good ole boys” unless they can produce a plan – not a mission statement, not a rah-rah power point, not political commentary, not a blame game! A real genuine plan!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

The Building Trades Plays Checkers – While the Construction World Plays Chess

Before Labor Rising gets into the whole chess and checkers blog, we would like to acknowledge “THE” Robbie Hunter’s upcoming retirement (Building Trades President of California)! What a loss for the trades and not just California! BTW Labor Rising got into trouble blogging on this in the past. Brother Robbie, we have to call it as it is – you are a prime-time player demonstrated in battle after battle on behalf of union trades!

Why Robbie was not the NABTU President is another sad chapter for the trades. The current NABTU Prez cannot even play checkers & his track record shows he never could. Brother Hunter is a Grand Master and would have excelled in playing chess at a national level! The trades have several excellent chess players; however, few are in positions to change the trajectory of the trades unless they step out of line and cease the current negative momentum. Carpe Diem!

So, let us look at the chess pieces on the board playing against the union trades in the upcoming decade.

We at Labor Rising have been working with professionals in this arena to figure out a formula to better express this equation. The variables (many of which are listed below) are all against us and are difficult to formulate. We may be taking a cheap shot here, but it occurs to LR that the “leaders” at the helm of our respective internationals should be all over this – but they are not!

  • Non/anti-union currently have 86% of all U.S. construction work per the Labor Department and other creditable sources. This is the entire measurable universe of construction.
  • Modularization is here and currently has 2 design types developed. There is room for a few more & some are in the works. Warren Buffet’s group is looking at profitable returns, minus development, by the end of this decade. So are the other design & engineering firms doing this because Berkshire Hathaway will drive it! Per creditable labor sources, several sectors of commercial work and in the near future residential work, is ripe for industrial style of modularization in construction.

We believe Amazon looks to become a disruptor in construction with all their own internal building and that seems likely at his point in time – let’s see what transpires in the not-too-distant future. The monetization of what they learn would be off the charts profitable!

  • Miniaturization engineering is making rapid advances in industries and will build with off the shelf parts to the highest degree possible & modularize the f*>k out of them in construction sectors, making for quicker builds and minimal use of field erection hours – and BTW, this will be presented as an installation, which will be a different SIC code. This is a big deal in and of itself! This is the dumbing down of construction and the need for most skills by the end of this decade. Between what is going to happen to commercial and industrial work, total union hours will be crushed! Most, if not all, locals & DCs’ defined pensions are in harm’s way.
  • Competing union trades for the work – Carpenters have the inside lane here almost purely by happenstance. Part of the equation is that with the non-union having 86% of all work, the carpenters will use EVERY means to survive to compete for the installation & fabrication/manufacturing of modularized work. Even though the non-union will be taking massive hits in work, our unionized sectors will take near proportional hits also. Then you have in the equation any and all double-breasted construction. When the big players represented by CURT need window dressing and a “UNION” presence during the decade and perhaps beyond, it will be the carpenters & the double-breasted construction pigs that will get it. Some skills will still be needed, which will come from the carpenters and double-breasted outfits. Politics and a great Labor Board cannot save the trades in this arena. The irony here is unbelievable. And the whole modularization and miniaturization of construction has been in plain view for at least 15 years. This is not a surprise. Even the disruptors like Buffet entering construction now are not really a surprise!
  • Today’s projections are that 60% to 80% of all outside field work hours will be in play by the end of the decade. When we say in play, we mean they will be eliminated. It will take fewer and fewer workers, most of whom will be semi-skilled workers, to do installations and outages!

So, some the whole number integers need to be stated as hours and we also need to add that veritable changes of those hours over time will take place. We will be using pre-COVID historical construction numbers since 2000:

  • 86% of all total construction work is non/anti-union expressed in hours.
  • Carpenters have approximately 375,000’ish members. Expressed in hours, how much can the carpenters union do for the upcoming workload needed?
  • Double-breasted construction companies are also a work in progress – Having researched this for many hours, Labor Rising feels confident that approximately 477,000 union workers have put their union card in their boot and have worked both sides on MORE than one job. Figuring these total work hours is critical and is the toughest part of the equation! Exceedingly early call, we estimate that between the carpenters and double-breasted workers that have worked non-union, the work force to install is essentially in place. Modularization needs from 20% to 40% of mostly semi-skilled workers. Between the carpenters and the non-union double-breasted construction companies they have (early call) the numbers needed. “SHOULD” these numbers work out even on the margins, union hours in the era of modularization, without a wholesale shift in strategy, will doom local hours and pensions. We would like to “HOPE” that the internationals would know this – but we really feel LR has a better handle on this number. The internationals are playing checkers! And we have a lot more work to do on this with the professionals we are working with. Those pros we are working with also have an interest in knowing these numbers.
  • Projections are based on engineering and delivery of modularized work, which show a consistent projected loss of 60% to 80% of total field manhours by end of decade in those modularized sectors. We know we’re being repetitive; however, this message needs to be repeated until those in high places act. Any more than 3 meetings and pseudo- sounding BS presentations by international types, without a concrete action plan to advance an overall strategy in place, will be truly catastrophic. Come on internationals – get people in place to do this. Act like the business you always present yourselves to be!

While these are the 4 main parts of the equation, there are more. Measures of inflation on construction, work availability and infrastructure spending plus a few more numbers and measurements in building an equation that will be further addressed in future blogs.

We use many points of construction information; however, we find Ed Zarenski’s construction analytics to be particularly useful. He uses many proven and time-honored contemporary construction analytics and adds a blue-collar common sense understanding of the industry in his view of the real world.

The next blog will present the hours needed for the trades to stay viable in a modularized era and discuss a real time solution.

Meantime why in the hell a group such as Labor Rising can put forth real and reasonable solutions, while the internationals are struggling to play a basic game of checkers, is just nuts!

The trades are running OUT OF TIME – do you get that international presidents of the trades?

“they wouldn’t know a fight – if it bit them on the ass”

3 cases in point that our internationals are just not up to the task of a modularized era:

  1. In St. Louis, many trades are signing agreements with the raiding carpenters. Why aren’t the trades aligning with the electricians to knock out the carpenters?
  2. Count Me In was the best run rank & file activist organization in the U.S. in the past few decades. Labor Rising only spoke with a few of the original activists. However, we clearly told them to NOT include ANY paid union leaders from NYC building trades as speakers at rallies and to refrain and document that the R&F activists of CMI stay independent of ANY & ALL directions of trades officials. Workers can ALWAYS talk to workers and be quite aggressive (minus any violence) on taking actions on non-union job sites. Once paid union officials started to be included and identified as leaders of CMI, CMI became a shell under threats of viable lawsuits from management against the trades.
  3. Ironworkers have signed an agreement with CLAC in Canada. CLAC is anti-union and makes the ABC look like pikers. So now the IWs provide IWs to CLAC jobs – WTF!?!

How many more recent cases do you what/need?

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

It Was Eminent – Warren Buffett as Chief Disruptor for Modular Construction –

Multi-billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway goes “all in” with tens of millions of dollars to bring modular construction into the mainstream of construction within 10 years.

Labor Rising would like to thank Brother CD for tracking this for 2 years. It is with his research & guidance that we wrote the blogs on OS2, modulization & miniaturization. The internationals by all accounts have been ambushed – but LR has not. Unfortunately, your careers as tradespersons rest with the trades. They are just that clueless.

Meanwhile back to Mr. Buffett who is not known for shooting from the hip and betting on longshots, as some other disruptors may be.

Here are just a few links for your review. Warning: Not reading them may result in a short career.

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/warren-buffett-offer-fresh-approach-modular-construction/amp

https://www.fastcompany.com/90637837/how-a-berkshire-hathaway-company-is-quietly-planning-to-disrupt-the-construction-industry

The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio has returned approximately 13% annually for the last decade, slightly less than the S&P 500 index. Not bad for an actively managed portfolio.

The largest listed construction companies hover around 1.7% and no one buys them. Heck, a Roth IRA can return triple that in average annual returns, so why would you own construction companies?

With blockchain underpinning a new operating system, transactional costs will be cut from 40% to 4% and deliver jobs in days vs. many months and years, which is now the norm. And with a manufactured system of modular construction, construction will become a profit center if Warren has his way about it. And if Warren sees modular construction as a core position in his future portfolio – then the trades are in a very precarious position. Since construction typically is in the top 3 drivers of the economy, the likelihood that modular is a core position is real. As a result, Buffett’s “all in” entrance to modular construction will open the floodgates to numerous players and disruptors.

According to multiple sources, sectors of construction that will change with the Berkshire investment are large multi-family housing complexes, low-income housing, condos, residential towers and hotels up to approximately 30 floors as of this blog. What else? Senior living complexes, student housing for universities and colleges, healthcare across most sectors and office buildings along with deployable structures of numerous types.

Millions of union hours and tens of thousands of members in the cross hairs!

So, pay attention International Presidents of the painters, plumbers, sheeters, laborers, carpenters, insulators, roofers, masons, bricklayers & electricians, as well as iron workers concerned about mesh and rods. Your work is in the crosshairs. In addition, the iron workers and operators will take big hits in erection hours – assuming that it is done union at all. The work classification may be that of installer and not erector. By and large, only the boilermakers’ hours will not be affected in these initial sectors of modular construction.

The industrial side of the ledger is already moving forward with modularization and miniaturization. Engineering hurdles left in a few sectors, once solved, will erase many Building Trades’ hours in the next decade and will coincide with a transformation of construction paralleling the above timeline. ALL trades are hit here!

What are you going to do Brother Presidents?

You can probably meet with those driving this initiative, but to what end? Much of construction will be done in a manufactured and/or fabrication facility and shipped to the job for installment. It will take far fewer skills than are needed today, minus a select few such as welding. It will crush total hours even in a hot construction market.

The clock is ticking, as this has been on the radar screen for a while on the business side of the ledger. Disruptors, such as Berkshire et al, have the resources to clear away most, if not all, obstacles including zoning and bureaucratic red tape, etc.

Berkshire et al want to generate a return on investments by the end of this decade. Any further delays by the trades put the trades and their pensions at increasing risks. So, what is the trades strategy?

The trades’ IPs are driving a 55 Chevy Belair right off a cliff while the drivers of change in construction on the business side are building a C8 ZO6!

Next blog will discuss solutions, as Labor Rising is a solution driven organization.

We feel confident that we can clearly lay out solutions in lieu of the failure of the trades senior leaders to do so.

This would be an unbelievable situation except for the fact that the trades’ senior leaders have a record of losing market share since the early 70’s which is measurable and verifiable in their LM-2’s NET!  

To those senior leaders not in the presidency, as well as all rank & file –

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

Attack an Ambush or Lose –

Vertical agreements in the Building Trades often are an ambush to control the jurisdiction of a job and perhaps then a market in construction.

One trade in particular feels entitled to do whatever they want – whenever its suits them and their management counterparts. The Carpenters are entangled in vertical agreements for their very own survival. (See the LM-2 below). And with the advent of OS2, modularization and miniaturization, they may have stumbled into finding the perfect trojan horse to leverage vertical agreements going forward.

However, the word stumble – happenstance, being in the right place at the right time – may NOT accurately describe the present situation the Carpenters find themselves in.

Labor Combat, which is Labor Rising’s advanced organizing arm, has an awesome ability to do research – better than the combined resources of the building trades. We have both deep and even dark web search capabilities. We search everything, much of which is Building Trades driven, and then some. If there is any paper trail whatsoever, even if you think it was deleted, guess what – it has not been!

The Carpenters, with regard to taking vertical projects to the next level in the era of OS2, are on our radar screen and also now found in our developed research. Labor Combat research indicates zero coordination or strategy in the past decade which has been structured by the Carpenters to this end. However, since 1995, the Carpenters have restructured, and jurisdictional attacks have been the order of business of the Carpenters. Training and serving management’s agenda also can be added to those top priorities. Based on Labor Rising’s research, they are sitting in the catbird seat (now preparing) for the next level in the upcoming changes in how construction is conducted going forward regardless how they have gotten to this point. That is why stumbled is the better bet, but even that counts.

Carpenters are no stranger to jurisdictional battles and being disaffiliated from the AFL, tracing back to 1915 in formal ways. While all trades have jurisdiction battles and pout when we lose, only the Carpenters have a habit of “taking their ball and going home” after they lose!

It has become part of their DNA. It is NOT the Rank & File Carpenters who are the problem for the affiliated AFL unions – it is the senior leadership, and it has been prevalent for almost their entire history!

In 2001 they disaffiliated again from the AFL-CIO and a claimed lack of organizing. History would show that losing jurisdictional awards and being challenged time and again by other BT affiliates for raiding as the primary reasons. They joined the coalition of Change to Win shortly thereafter.

True to their DNA, they disaffiliated with CTW again in 2009 for almost exactly the same reasons as in 2001.

The point here is that as of today, Carpenters are flat out implementing a game plan of doing all other trades’ work throughout North America as a way to grow and stay relevant in construction as the OS2 era unfolds. Their actions, backed up by deep research, leads directly to this point!

Here is a case in point and is by no means a one-off situation per Labor Combat research. Think of it as “the tip of an iceberg”.

Skender modular homes article: https://chicago.curbed.com/2019/5/24/18636937/modular-affordable-housing-design-skender-sterling-bay

While this is clearly more along the lines of modularization, miniaturization and OS2 will all be linked to construction projects soon across all sectors. Consider the date of this article and then think about the lead time needed to get to the point of facilitation. Thank you to Brother A. B. for tracking this.

No other trades need apply – as every aspect of the build is done by the Carpenters.

And what have the rest of the trades been doing as these ambushes continue to escalate?

NOTHING! Labor Rising would include whining, complaining, educating the market (Value on Display BS), lobbying politicians, stripping of Carpenters by affiliate AFL unions, etc. as nothing more than getting shot up in the ambush.

Attack!

Organize the Carpenters everywhere you can!

Union members of any union labor organization always have the right to re-assign who they want to bargain for them. Always!

As a BT affiliate, if you have had enough of the Carpenters’ jurisdictional assaults, then organize them.

This is not for a beginner organizer or those who think they are organizers but have NEVER run a RC petition for organizing from start to finish.

The two terms you have to become familiar with are 8F & 9A. They incorporate the provisions for organizing union members from one International to another within the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). They describe the ways and limitations of using an 8F & 9A – and they help an organizer lay out their game plan.

As both 8F & 9A have several moving legal parts, especially the 9A section, you need a lawyer (unless you are a top tier organizer).

A couple of caveats:

  • If the lawyer also has Carpenters’ unions/DCs as clients – then they are out as your pick.
  • If they show any reluctance to do this – they are out.
  • Do they have experience taking an RC petition all the way through to the end, including the many twists and turns which can/will occur (a 9A will have many twists and turns)? If not, they are out.
  • If they will not lay out their version of a game plan to collaborate with yours. They are out.
  • Another caveat is if any lawyer even mentions Article XX more than 1x – lose them. First, the Carpenters are NOT an affiliated AFL union – case closed. They are fair game to be organized! Second, Article XX was written in good faith to prevent BT unions from raiding each other. It has almost zero enforcement. So, if a lawyer even mentions this more than 1x – they are not your group.

These are just some of the caveats – there are more.

Items to consider:

  • Organize to win! Do not play patty cake – we are way past that. Do not just endeavor to drive them back to their jurisdiction. Organize to recover your work, and then all you can get from thereon.
  • When you win the campaign there is a good chance in a vertical agreement that you will win ALL the work performed by the COMPANY/CONTRACTOR! The winners get the contractor, workers and to a high degree the class of jobs done by the losing contractor. Stripping and recruiting just brings in additional workers to your union – UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN YOU WIN THIS STYLE OF ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN – THIS BECOMES YOUR MARKET! GET IT!
  • You win in all ways with a real organizing campaign. No contractor, developer, CM, GC, and especially an end-user wants/likes a coordinated organizing campaign on their doorstep ever!
  • The Carpenters cannot be everywhere. Here is the link to the 2020 Carpenters LM-2. See Schedule 13. See how they and for that matter most BT affiliates count membership. Also consider reviewing past LM-2 of all trades to get an idea of membership over time. https://olmsapps.dol.gov/olpdr/?_ga=2.233277790.1120817682.1621004254-1351840497.1620727374#Union%20Reports/Union%20Search/

Go to Union Reports – Click Union Search right under it – Enter File Number in box that says Where’s my report – Only numbers – Put in 000085 – Hit Submit – Carpenters will populate the area below – may have to wait awhile – it is what it is.

Schedule 13 shows 432,107 total members – we backed out Section 50 Disabled, Early Retired and Honorary Members which is 75,282. The Carpenters have approx. 356,825 remaining ACTIVE in the field members. How many work both union and non-union? That is a good thing in this case for the Carpenters.

Labor Rising is rather good at mapping markets – we would offer that 360,000 Carpenter members in the bank are more than enough to establish themselves in a superior position with the construction companies in the era of OS2, modularization and miniaturization. And at the expense of the remaining trades. When you can take the combined membership of 4 trades active field members and not fill a football stadium – those 4 trades alone are going to be ate up. The equation looks like this. With OS2, modularization and miniaturization reducing the overall field journeyperson by up to 75% by end of decade. Non-union with 88% of the work now. Those non-union contractors doing everything to survive a massive reduction in work force. And the Carpenters aggressive strategy to be a player when it all shakes out. Tell me how 4 to even 6 AFL trades survive?  It will be to late to merge – they will be gone. The rest that remains will not fare so well and even merging may not save them and certainly not their pensions.  

What strategy and action are warranted now?

Organizing the Carpenters which can be thought of as a forced merger with the AFL. With them out of the equation and merging down to a core set of unions – Labor Rising has it at 3 – 4 max. With enough organizing pressure throughout North America, it certainly can be done. In lieu of that pressure, the Carpenters will gather enough momentum to build members/market share at the clear expense of the other trades! This equation hangs in the balance. You can only lose so many members and contractors before you implode and that is a double edge blade right now! NOTE: Canada has different laws regarding organizing.

  • Persistence – stay with it until you win it. Those contractors that hire any BT affiliate look for a high degree of labor certainty/peace on the jobs – an ongoing organizing drive will remove that certainty/labor peace.
  • The Labor Board cannot and will not DO YOUR Organizing. No “burn and churn” BS. Know how to build a case within the law and with those members being organized from the Carpenters. Do NOT sell to the contractors the Carpenters have signed or use VOD IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE! Those carpenter contractors knew what they chose. Also, talking to them in ANY manner may put the organizing campaign in jeopardy. Labor Rising are purists in this regard. Shut the f*^@ up when you launch your organizing campaign, and preferably for some time before. You can get yourself set up. An effective organizing campaign is served up as cold as possible. DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE and make sure you do not get caught up in conversations. Record it or get it in writing – document.

Additionally, know all good and bad points which have to be addressed with those who your organization wants to organize. An example on the negative side is pension vesting. Does the worker have 3, 4 years in the pension? Can you build a case that even with a pension forfeiture in the Carpenters it will be repaired for career-minded journeypersons by a specific date, all things being equal?

This entire pros and cons list has to be worked thru, point by point – no lying and or sleight of hand BS misrepresentations. 

Win!

It is a terrible situation organizing another trade – even if not affiliated. However, it is going to come down to you or them. Choose!

Next blog is for solutions in the OS2 era for the Building Trades.

If you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

55 Belair Coupe (construction today) & 2021 C8 ZO6 (construction in the OS2 era) –

Yes, Brothers & Sisters – that dramatic of a change is here with OS2 (operating system 2)! It will not be 60 years from now. OS2 is being implemented now and will be mainstream by the middle of this decade for most construction companies and for a couple of sectors – end of this decade.

Labor Rising will attempt to explain the two parts of OS2 that will affect your career and pension.

The first part of OS2 is under the hood, or out of view so to speak, and is taking place with OS2 now! It is not seen by the average solid field journeyperson. An analogy most may understand is that the 55 Belair had a 265 ci small block. Can you upgrade that with today’s technology? Absolutely. You can make that small block far better; however, it is still a 55 – 265 cubic inch small block!

That small block is the state of construction right now and has been for the last 60 plus years. You can put all the current technology you want on that engine, but it is still a 265 small block engine. So, technology enhanced systems like BIM (Building Information Modeling) & Lean IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), along with others, are enhancements to a 265-small block engine. But nothing more.

The pyramid style of construction, as it is called today and has been for the last 60 plus years, has NOT and does not work – case closed. However, if we ONLY know and have a 265-small block, then that is all we know!

Enter OS2 – because technology has changed so dramatically – we are now entering an era that will transform how every aspect of construction is performed. Very shortly, a C8 ZO6 – 5.5-liter flat plane crank will be under the hood of construction. And that is a 335 ci engine. Not much bigger in size; however, it packs several hundred to over 1,000 horsepower! OTHER THAN THEY ARE BOTH ENGINES – THEY ARE NIGHT AND DAY! It is because of the operating system improvements in the auto industry that the ZO6 exists. Construction is now on the threshold of its first massive & transformational improvement using technology.

So, can we put a name on this? Well, under the hood what a Rank & File tradesperson cannot see is…

Data Gumbo and PrairieDog Venture Partners Collaborate to Transform Capital Projects with Smart Contracts

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200610005009/en/Data-Gumbo-and-PrairieDog-Venture-Partners-Collaborate-to-Transform-Capital-Projects-with-Smart-Contracts

An excerpt:

June 10, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Data Gumbo, the trusted transactional blockchain network for tomorrow’s industrial leaders, today announced a partnership with PrairieDog Venture Partners (PDVP), the technology and development arm of the Operating System 2.0 (OS2) research project co-led by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT), dedicated to the creation and advancement a new business model for construction.

As you read this, think about every aspect of construction that you most likely know of but generally do not get involved with. General headings include bidding, procurement, safety, labor, contracts, financing, mobilization, invoicing, estimating, weather, transportation and far more. Then think of the subsets of these categories and also that any party involved can and may default on an ability to perform a task once assigned and/or need to be replaced on the fly and in that moment.

With the 55 Belair (pyramid style of construction delivery today) it can take the above actions months and years to get all the ducks in a row in order to actually DO THE JOB!  And the pyramid style of construction may falter or shut down as parties’ default or cease to exist during the job, and also by the way, before and after the job.

With the advent of OS2 and going forward, all those tasks above and more will be performed in DAYS – complete for a shovel ready job of every type! This will have a direct effect on day to day R&F tradespersons in the field – both union or not!

Let us look at one of the above tasks – transactional costs. Do this please: Take an aluminum pop can and crush it under foot. That is what this aspect alone will look like – this is what the R&F will not see. Transactional costs/fees with be crushed from approximately 40% down to 4% — just like the can, in one fell swope. Construction stocks will have value in a portfolio once again. That is a big deal.

A solid example of the early use of OS2 is the oil & gas industry, which is in its infancy and ahead of the construction industry using Data Gumbo and blockchain (also called flat or thin). This may not be good for the UA & other trades when OS2 is using blockchain and are further developed – which is happening now.

An example is: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2021/02/02/how-blockchain-is-helping-big-oil-optimize-for-a-carbon-friendly-future/?sh=5480c01d6514

The second part of OS2 that the Rank & File WILL SEE, is the transformation of modularization and miniaturization in construction of ALL sectors and markets.

Modularization of components is in its infancy today in construction. Under OS2 it will be raised to a state of art and used day to day for nearly all projects. It will be plug & play. It will also use “off the shelf” parts and components. Little to nothing customized. Even the nuclear industry will do this.

Here is an example of OS2 today. Washington State 80-megawatt reactor: https://x-energy.com/ardp

This example also illustrates the use of miniaturization. It is now planned for a single 80 MW reactor. However, they are currently planning for 4 total reactors, or 320 MW’s: and perhaps more. Outages will be on a single unit(s) at a time. Hours for field construction and outages will be reduced by as much as 75% of what it took to build a single one off 320 MW facility and will scale to number and size. But always less and less in hours and need of FIELD tradespersons.

Miniaturization is now an early budding reality in some sectors of construction. Other sectors are overcoming the engineering obstacles that remain. This IS NOT theory. You know some of the companies that have solved the engineering hurdles. They are heavy weights on the market indexes. It is just a few now; however, 4 will turn into 8 and 8 into 16, etc. These are the early adopters of OS2. They are among the several that are doing the beta testing as Labor Rising is writing this.

Once these few remaining hurdles are overcome, construction will go from a 55 Belair to a 2021 C8 ZO6! It is expected to happen by mid-decade, for some end of this decade. Biden’s infrastructure legislation will put this on steroids with huge deal flows. OS2 will add back jobs because of that deal flow, but not enough to offset job loses across the board because of OS2. Hours to fuel a career and pension will put both in jeopardy. And that is in a great construction environment.

The demand for skilled field tradespersons will be reduced overall. There will be some exceptions, such as welding & rigging skills to name a couple. BUT, because of modulization most will be in a fabrication setting and not in the field.  

Organizing opportunities will diminish on the field side of the ledger. The irony here cannot be overstated. The trades finally get an honest and fair Labor Secretary and will not be able to use the fair NLRB department he will oversee for two primary reasons. First – the trades truly suck at organizing and few know their way around even writing a charge much less a full and robust campaign. Even fewer have seen the inner workings of an NLRB office (using this term as both a metaphor & literally). Recruiting and selling are NOT organizing – never have been! Second – the non-union has 90% of the construction work. The non-union is going to be decimated to a far greater degree in the OS2 era and field construction, maintenance, and outages are going to be hit hard. Trying to figure this out as a union organizer is much like trying to catch a falling knife. We also, by and large, have few organizers who know how to do IN-DEPTH research pertinent to being able to ID the survivors or merged non-union construction companies. The non-union will do everything possible to kill off the 10% of trades market share. Also, CURT & CII may have tolerated and/or actually want the trades to stay in the mix. In the era of OS2 – if you can not move and adapt you will die. Not a strong suit for our internationals. Then consider how many union firms are double-breasted! Who are the construction owners & end-users going to save?

Even The Pro Act, the spin on skill shortages, and Secretary Walsh in office will not prevent OS2 from happening.  

None of this is the organizers’ fault. Internationals DO NOT teach this past window dressing BS classes.

Our next blog will deal with vertical agreements in the trades and those trades that use them. Labor Rising has a solution on that.

The blog after that will be solutions for increasing market share in the era of OS2. As we stated in the last blog – if there was ever a time to have LOW market share – it is now. A potential silver lining still exists to the piss-poor strategy of Value on Display! VOD has been a disaster every measurable way for decades – it has to go! 

The solution, as is the case with many things, will depend on senior leaders moving in a completely new direction. The word “bold” is overused and worn out by our senior leaders, so we do not use it here.

Perhaps many R&F will have a little better understanding of the 2 sides of OS2. And perhaps finally conclude that…

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh & Prairie Dog OS2 –

Brother Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston, just could not be a better pick for Labor Secretary! I like Bernie, but Walsh is better. I really like Sara Nelson, but Walsh is better – especially for the trades.

Here we have to use the word BUT: But the trades are in for a transformation of the construction world, which will be dramatic and extensive, and OS2 (operating system 2) will be the driving force. From everything we can tell in our research, OS2 is in beta testing on multiple sites even as we write this blog. Fancy way of saying that the kinks are being worked out and OS2 is being taken for some dry runs with real jobs today before it is rolled out to the entire construction world in North America in 2021/2022!

So, let us at Labor Rising clarify what we mean. The CIO side of labor, along with the professional unions, are poised to run up some market share numbers with Secretary Walsh at the helm. Understand the Labor Secretary can only create a level playing field in which to organize and he will do this in a timely manner. Also, the CIO and professional unions are geared up and have a depth of experience with REAL organizing. Some unions in those universes have advanced unionization even in the era of Trump anti-labor America so they will have game with Secretary Walsh.

The management side of these respective industry sectors all are using OS2, OS3 and even some big-time companies are using OS4. So, labor and management are living the changes brought about in the workplace due to operating system changes. From automation to integrating information of every type, labor and management are dealing with real world situations using current operating system platforms. The trades and the WORLD of construction in North America IS NOT! OS2 IS NOT BIM, Lean IPD and a few other modern “PATCHES” made to the existing construction process to shave hours off. OS2 is completely NEW system for construction.

The trades senior leaders (again on the wrong side of strategy development) will be compelled to deal with OS2, which is more in line with how the world works today. The Pro Act, huge infrastructure spending and even Brother Walsh cannot stop construction from the adoption of OS2!

With real life projections (revised up from 50% reduction from the first Labor Rising blog 1 month ago) now projected at approximately 60% to 70% reduction of field labor along with skill levels per how OS2 will affect the construction industry. Life for the field construction industry (union & non-union) is facing a TOTAL transformation. OS2 will add back some of those lost jobs because the construction industry will be capable of doing approximately 2 ½ times the workload when that level of work is available. Jobs are going to be nearly full modularization and miniaturization in almost all situations possible going forward with OS2. Construction management using OS2 will use as few field/outside tradespersons’ hours as is possible using this operating system.   

Who is Prairie Dog? This is from the CURT website:

“Value Creation Through Effective Industry Alignment – The capital projects industry is unsustainable for many sectors of the global economy. Many capital projects either lack new technology, effective management, or both. Current processes are not agile or flexible enough to accommodate change and lack the foresight to envision the operating reality for years in the future. ‘Plan the work, work the plan,’ doesn’t work”.

“CURT and CII (Construction Industry Institute) believe the solution is Operating System 2.0. This vision is a multi-industry, collaborative, research-supported effort that aims to redesign industry procedures and standards and replace them with a standardized, technology-enabled platform that accommodates future changes and makes capital projects more financially viable and sustainable.”

This video is the OS2 presentation delivered by Pete Dumont, CURT President and Stephen Mulva, CII Executive Director on February 12, 2018 at the CURT National Conference: https://www.curt.org/resources/os2/

This video is from the OS2 presentation delivered by Stephen Mulva, CII Executive Director on August 1, 2017 at the CII Annual Conference: https://vimeo.com/231380825

You can also go to www.curt.org and tab over to Resources and click and scroll down to OS2. Pay close attention to the charts used later in the presentations. Organizers, activist, and serious trades members can understand the direction of OS2. Listen to the couple of comments about labor’s use and role, which is extremely limited!

Notice the dates of the videos and contemplate the info needed to do a presentation of this level. This is NOT a fluff piece. And from the 2017/2018 timeframe of these presentations to beta testing in 2020/2021 is a formidable push for adoption.

You may want to also look at the Members list of both CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) and of CII (Construction Industry Institute), which are the prime drivers of Prairie Dog and OS2 adoption.

Why is Prairie Dog emerging now?

The consensus of industry experts about the nexus for OS2 is 3-fold:

  • Stock market valuations of construction firms. See The Construction Index for composite stock numbers: https://www.statista.com/topics/974/construction/ As the speaker in the presentation states, when Snap-Chat has a valuation of 3x that of Fluor Construction, a top worldwide constructor, who wants to own Fluor and BTW the other top constructors?
  • Stuck in history. Using the analogy of the mid 1900’s way of building is exactly correct. “Plan the work & work the plan” is at least 50 to 70 years old and has never really worked – as in ever.
  • And the top reason is that the constructors and even end-users are terrified of the future, which is already HERE! When every constructor is in the same boat, fear is a powerful motivator. The speakers in both videos, along with others we have seen, are terrified of a DISRUPTOR such as Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos becoming builders – them or one of a few dozen or so other disruptors eyeing up construction. So, it is change or die for the constructors!

Have the trades known about this? YEP! You just do not roll out an operating system overnight. Hell, some trades’ marketing groups are even Association members of CURT.

All the recruiting to keep the trades’ active workers’ level near or at 1:1 is also going to hell. The pensions are in a direct line of fire – even with the bailouts(grants) to restore funding to underfunded pensions. Add approx. 125 BILLION to the figure now being discussed and you may NOT still be at the money needed for CURRENT/2020 underfunded plans!! With the real prospect of fewer hours – underfunded plans will grow substantially. Green to red in less than a decade. Also fully funding the entire underfunded amount promised tradespersons compared to funding PBGC is completely different.

Bottom-up (which BTW rarely works for field construction) and top-down are already useless and with the rapid moving adoption of OS2 will be next to zero. Secretary Walsh cannot change what IS happening. Nothing illegal about it. The trades may have some organizing opportunities for fabrication and manufacturing of the components of modularization. However, these jobs will be completely different types and classes of jobs, pay, skills and benefits. Most likely they will also be the installers on site.

The pyramid style of running construction projects (as it is called now) is soon to be dead, to be replaced by a flat, thin or blockchain way of running construction projects.

Since 2012, Labor Rising has taught to go after the wallet/money of the senior-most decision makers of construction. The senior leaders WILL NOT go after the wallet of management; and in failing to do so have placed the trades in a death vise.

There are still two plays, as we at Labor Rising see it currently – for the trades to stay viable.

Labor Rising will present these in upcoming blogs as we continue to understand OS2 to the degree necessary to formulate a strategy.

The fact that the trades compose approximately 11% of construction, which is just a joke caused by Value on Display, has one benefit.

IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO HAVE LOW MARKET SHARE – THIS IS IT! Only the union sector can grow market share with the advent of OS2. Barely! Value on Display has to go, in its entirety – who are you going to sell too in the era of OS2? Labor-Management meetings with the bigger players – be they end-users, developers, CM’s, tripartite and the lot are by and large DONE in the era of OS2!

The big problem here is that the trades senior leaders are without an actionable strategy for something THEY knew is coming!

Labor Rising is begging – can we get some Executive VP’s and other senior leaders to step OUT OF LINE!?! Can SOMEONE PLEASE LEAD!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo

Organizer

Labor Rising