Labor Rising Logo
Call (630) 373-0774

Labor Rising or “Value on Display” –

Having a Value strategy and positioning the Building Trades as a “product” puts the “Value” of the product completely in the hands of the purchasers, which are the contractors and the end-users’ executives. We’re depending on the purchaser to accept our proposition – not a good position when 85% of them use non/anti-union contractors.

The “Value on Display” strategy of branding is now well over a decade old and has had a negative total impact on Building Trades’ market share.

With over 85% of the “net” total construction work being done non/anti-union, and with cost being the focus, the Building Trades should not be surprised by continually decreasing market share. If you factor in the elimination of jobs resulting from increased technology and modularization in construction delivery, then overall market share can only get worse with this as the go-to strategy. The notion that we are a preferred brand like Whole Foods, Harley, etc., that contractors and end-users are willing to pay more for, absolutely does not take into account the underlying mechanics of a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The current strategy of the Value on Display is much more akin to labor selling to labor.

Even with these facts, many senior Building Trades Leaders continue to believe that the current “Value on Display” strategy, and leaving the decision entirely to use union building trades completely in the hands of end-users, is working. There are no numbers to support this “net” anywhere within any industry or market in construction. Specifically, where is the evidence market wide?

Labor Rising –

A union’s primary purpose is to empower workers far past their jobs – to organize workers, provide income equity, have access to health care, provide dignity in retirement thru a pension and have fair working conditions and hours. Labor is the only force in a capitalistic society that can stand up to corporate money interests.

The Building Trades’ mission is to be activists, not to be marketers or a brand. Are we going to be the backbone of the middle class, or complicit thru self-dealings with corporations in creating a class of working poor with our own union task masters?

Corporations deal with unions for only 1 reason, because they have to! Great unions imposed that relationship on corporations; they did not market to corporations for representation. They earned their position with workers and the public thru activism.

Imagine where Samuel Gompers and Martin Luther King would be if they co-operated with the very entities that sought to destroy what they represented.

Brothers and Sisters, a corporate charter is just a piece of paper that has no allegiance or loyalty to any country, much less workers. It is about profits, public relations and how to maximize both over time.

Labor’s mission – our mission – is to be part of the greater good supporting all workers, union or not.

The prominent trend of “I’ve got to get mine” or “I’m glad I have a job at any pay” is the very cancer that is the catalyst creating the class of working poor.

The Standards of Excellence for job site conduct need to give way to Standards of Excellence supporting workers on the job!

The 1st serves a few; the 2nd serves all and is the foundation unions and even our country was built upon!

Danny L. Caliendo

PS: A great education and White Paper is The Business Roundtable and American Labor, written by J. C. Turner, Former General President International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO – May 1979

This entry was posted in Labor Rising and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.