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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: 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.


  • 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


Labor Rising

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