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In the Penalty Box –

Penalty Hat

When you challenge the status quo you make enemies. As Organizers, our entire mission is to change the landscape, increase job opportunities and return union employment to solid levels of market share.

In changing the status quo some candid assessments have to be made and then acted on. What follows isn’t a “who died and made you boss” assessment. This is 5 years of hard core research of only the Building Trades, followed by 3 years of person-to-person interaction and training.

Every single number for the last 20 years says that what we do to advance market share does not work. Was it well intended? Absolutely! – Sincerely acted on? Yep!

Has it produced the desired results to get the job done? Nowhere in the numbers can that be demonstrated or expected.

What is as compelling as the research is the direct private comments of 591 of 604 line Organizers/Agents from 279 locals across the country. Those charged with carrying out the strategy of organizing/market development have nearly unanimously said that what we currently do, does not work in the field.

The Labor Rising/Labor Combat program notified in writing all Building Trades Internationals of our research, including a state-by-state assessment of organizing prior to bringing our training online in the first half of 2012. I personally called every Director of Organizing to give them a heads up on what was produced. I also traveled 3 times to Washington DC/Maryland to meet with any senior officers/organizers that would meet, including cold calling their offices.

We tried very hard to walk in the shoes of the respective International Presidents and do this in-house.

Other than some gracious comments and being presented with numerous gatekeepers doing their jobs, we got no response whatsoever.

So, we decided to do what Organizers are compelled to do if they are confident in their numbers and sincere in their beliefs, and that was take the training live. Along with that, we’ve been putting the summaries of our research out in a series of Blogs to explain what the numbers are, how they have been arrived at, and express the urgency to break the status quo or else!

Off to the Penalty Box! Such is the life of an organizer. Part of our Strategic Power Mapping was injecting facts, and only facts. No calling into question personalities, as is prohibited under Roberts Rules of Order and would not be the brotherly thing to do. It was decided to present OUR program at the grassroots level, and go directly to the locals and Building Trades knowing that a barrage of loose cannon, Building Trades bashing, etc. would then come into play, with some of the politicians safeguarding their titles.

A vendor wouldn’t “bash” because it’s very business is about selling to the trades. But, perhaps a pain in the ass organizer, with more research than probably anyone else in the trades, just might! This Organizer has 35 years in the trades and our family has 9 decades, our other instructor’s bios lead in tenure, activism and in the most important category – WINS! “OUR” program wins – if used! BTW, no one funds us – case closed. We fronted the money to start.

All the research and real numbers clearly show that time is no longer on the side of the Building Trades. Ask New York City and others areas how fast a market can flip from union to non-union. The universe of anti-non/union construction uses our current strategy against us. Just like a politician, military leader or sports team uses the information gathered from their opponents against them, to ultimately defeat them; so is the non/anti-union continuing to erode our market share. With approx. 88% of all work and the trend continuing to drop the non/anti-union love when we continue to cling to our pride that only “we” can do the work. Can we afford that kind of thinking?

Why is there a refusal to look at the research and Labor Rising program? In our minds this is simple. If the research and program can’t be disputed and defeated with facts or even BS, then the Internationals will have no choice, but to break the status quo and change. The research is bullet proof – no opinions, but hard verifiable facts all pointing to the demise and/or nearly complete control of the Building Trades by business.

FYI – since the program has started, we have had 2 International Directors of Organizing in attendance from start to finish. Our respect goes out to them and their organizations. They interacted, and I feel were fair and straightforward in reviewing the training. In addition, we had another Director of Organizing sit down with us for nearly 3 hours, and we feel he got a solid overview of the program and was fair.

Labor Rising will reach out to the Building Trades Organizing Directors Committee and request to be put on their agendas, should they choose to do so.

In the meantime, we will work with the unions in the field that literally are watching a MOVEMENT die right before their eyes.

Many organizers/agents have joined us in the Penalty Box and clearly demonstrate that they are part of a Movement and won’t just “go along to get along!”

What a great band of brothers! They understand…

“if you see a good fight – get in it”


Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising Group

Note: We are aware of some entities copying some or all of the program – progress, slow but progress!

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