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If You Can’t Throw a Jab – The Trades Will Never Win Market Share –

Yep, a jab my Brother & Sister Organizers/Members/Boxers! For the past 40 years or so the trades have fought with both arms tied behind their backs. Value on Display has not knocked out, much less won, most decisions on points in 40 years. A loser with the record to prove it!

The Internationals are the promoters. As long as they have enough fights (jobs & hours) they are content with the commissions (paychecks, pensions, perks, dues) on the purse. However, the promoters’ boxers (members) are getting hit in every which way, both physically & economically, throughout the fight in terms of wages, benefits, conditions, etc. The senior leaders are themselves insulated from any hits to their livelihoods or persons. Promoters (aka the trades as a temp agency) are putting any fighter (trades-person) they can RECRUIT in the ring (job), with the terms dictated to them by management!

The trades members (boxers) are the punching bag in the pseudo L/M relationship, taking hit after hit and returning none of them. In fact, they are penalized if they dare to jab back – not by management,  but by their OWN Internationals! 

Organizers are in an even worse position. In our Founders’ time thru to the late 60’s, trade organizers knew or learned how to throw jabs (organize). And, even had some power punches to knock out management when needed.

Labor Rising knows firsthand that the trades have organizers who can or will learn how to jab! Labor Rising also knows firsthand that for every organizer we have taught to jab, the Internationals WILL NOT let them – case closed! Hundreds of ORGANIZERS Labor Rising has trained throughout the trades have either quit, been fired, or been moved to other positions when they choose to jab with effect. Labor Rising knows the names of every one of them.

Bottom-up is the closest thing the trades has for using at least 1 arm in the fight. However, just like a jab most of the trades’ organizers do not know how and when to use it!

A jab (bottom-up) can be used offensively or defensively. A solid boxer, much less a great boxer (organizer) knows and goes to school on the various forms of jabs, whether it be: regular, tapper, space-maker, power, double, body, counter, etc.

Now when the trades refer to using a “tool-box” to organize, jabbing (organizing for effect, to sign a CBA) should be included AND USED! Solid boxers can and will win most of their fights with nothing more than knowing how to effectively use all the jabs in their arsenal.

For example:  Marvin Hagler was one of the greatest fighters, although he was not a world-class athlete like some of the opponents he faced. He made up for that by training hard and having the discipline to get the most out of his ability, and he was an excellent jabber. Was he also a solid power puncher? Absolutely! But ask him how effective his power punch would have been without using his arsenal of jabs!

Organizers who use a one-size-fits-all style of bottom-up organizing will win some campaigns – much like a boxer who has a jab that fits the handful of fights it would be effective in. However, they would not have a winning record (market share) just knowing the one-size-fits-all style of bottom-up/jabbing.

Just like a boxer, an organizer has to know WHEN to use different styles/types of bottom-up. When to sign cards, in what environment/market, prevailing laws, knowledge of management using the NLRB, true sentiments of workers, community environment, trust, how to legally and effectively use hiring laws to stymie the non-union in securing workers  – along with many other factors of organizing (styles/types of jabbing) is critical to winning. Can an organizer/boxer bring enough heat to outright win a CBA (knockout)? Impose a TKO on management (perhaps a PLA – but with the trades setting the majority of the conditions, not management)? Win on points – (bringing enough heat on a job or market in a sustained fashion) especially on markets where management has ALWAYS had non-union on a job?

The second arm that has been tied behind an organizer’s back is solid opposition research, opposition websites, real credit reports, labor law as it pertains to recognition along with secondary laws and more. We’re talking complete and developed research on the end-user, developer, construction manager, and far more, including the use of VOD in correct and specific circumstances, taught to then deliver power punches set up by the jab to those that use anti/non-union construction companies. Labor Rising’s fight ring is the Compression Zone, which is developed research reduced to specific actions regarding the contractors and those that use them. Using the Compression Zone, the organizer (boxer) can distinguish between who to work with vs. who to face with gloves on!

VOD is NOT one of the arms of organizers (boxers) tied behind their backs in and of itself. It is a tool or one of the many styles/types of jabs. But it CANNOT win on its own in big enough numbers to increase market share. It is just PART of the arsenal that a great organizer (boxer) uses to win rights for workers inside a MOVEMENT of and for workers!

Organizers (boxers) live a life of hard work to get to the top – not for just a day, a week, or a month, but for many years if not a lifetime. And, you generally do not retire from organizing. You are either doing, teaching, coaching, supporting, or advocating for your life’s passion throughout your life. It is what you leave to your children and their children! It is in your blood, to be part of the balance between labor and management. A MOVEMENT that outlives you individually and is passed on! VOD has broken the MOVEMENT of workers and is a mere business philosophy now. That is WHY it cannot and has not advanced workers’ rights during its entire existence. It is a business tool, and not a workers’ strategy!

Money and budgets help; however, our Founders and then the Greatest Generation organized in far worse conditions than exist today with next to nothing in terms of money. Today the trades TALK a good game or fight. The Internationals are afraid of stepping into battle.

Labor Rising is always perplexed by the number of posts on Facebook about what labor has done for Canadians and American workers. That list is long. The list is also approximately 60 years old & more! The answer is my generation (men & women between ages 55 to 75 years) consisting of pseudo labor leaders who have done nothing but coast on the shoulder of the giants who created a MOVEMENT of and for workers many decades ago!

Stop with the BS stickers, shirts and thinking that we are badass. The trades have to earn the right to be badass, just like a boxer – IN THE RING! All talk stops once inside the ring! The standard of living is what establishes whether the trades are winning. It has declined my entire life in the trades and continues to do so, with the real prospect of disappearing entirely – ON OUR WATCH!

Labor Rising has been dedicated to training an army of organizers (boxers) to win, in a fair but pitched battle! The INTERNATIONALS have prevented it at all times, with the exception of the UA. The UA hopefully will evolve into using a bigger toolbox of jabs and perhaps bring both arms into the fight!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising

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