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Here we go again – Stripping!

Stripping has always been involved in organizing! However starting with the construction downturn in the late 80’s, it has evolved into being used as a means to an end or strategy.

Stripping is an activity that has helped produced a negative long term improvement in union construction market share. We get the worker and leave non-union contractors a little wounded but still very much alive. Wounded animals are the most dangerous. Stripping pisses off everyone in the union because it is too widely used with no concrete improvement in market share. The existing strategy and focus of our organizers/agents when work gets good, is to find the workers for our contractors. Very few non-union contractors are added, just workers to existing union contractors.

Without signing non/anti-union contractors, the building trades cannot improve market share.

Our existing strategies of top-down, bottom-up, Breslin and stripping; collectively fail to raise market share because they are tools – not strategies.

Question to my Organizers and Agents – whose job is it to make a non-union job – union? Using the current and existing strategies, most would answer that it is the union’s job to make the job union. While I generally agree – how specifically is that going to happen at a scale necessary to raise market share?

Answer – by putting pressure on the clients, credit and social footprint of the end-user, construction manager and general contractor – NOT the non-union contractor. THINK ABOUT THAT BROTHERS & SISTERS!

With the way we organize now, most if not all of our attention is on the non-union contractor. We talk to everyone and anyone to get them to see the value of using unions. That talking to everyone is at the root of why we cannot organize. Top-down, we talk to the contractor. Bottom-up, we talk to the worker. Breslin, we talk to everyone! All of these activities have a Recognitional intent. RECOGNITION!

If our union lawyers ever did their job – then organizers/agents would know that it is all the talking (asking for recognition) to all these parties that put the union in a no-win box. We also stay highly dependent on the union lawyers, spinning our market share wheels now for 3 decades.

If unions would adopt the Labor Rising format of organizing and use our Compression Zone(s) as a strategy for organizing, then we would cease to a large degree, in talking to everyone. Recognitional intent would evaporate and SECONDARY claims could NOT be made!!! Almost no organizers know what I just said because our lawyers don’t help us understand these extremely important concepts, which will change how we organize/develop markets going forward.

When unions create uncertainty and legally attack the end-users, construction managers and general contractors, they will FORCE them to make a business decision to use a union contractor. Our focus ceases to be on the down-stream contractor. We remove all recognitional intent – opening up the playing field.

We, the building trades DON’T run around like chickens with their heads cut off, looking for union contractors to do the job. That’s a suckers play the end-users use to thwart our efforts.

This is an overly simple description here – but we keep the pressure up on the end-user, CM or GC until they cause, and they will, the non-anti/union contractors to sign with the union. GET IT!

Hopefully we will not confuse increased work opportunities with increased market share – they are separate and apart. Historically every time there has been increased work, the building trades has usually lost market share when the work plays out – look at the numbers, not the BS rhetoric.

Danny L Caliendo

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