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Meanwhile on the Non-Union Side of Work to Rule –

Those who have taken the Labor Rising Foundations course on organizing know that we have a solid foothold with 17 non-union Facebook Groups. Combined “members” of these 17 groups total approximately 235,000. Part of an organizers mission!

Those non-union group members interact to a high degree with our posts. They have followed the posts regarding Work to Rule perhaps in greater numbers than the 42 union groups, mostly Building Trades with approximately 139,000 members, to which we post.

Previously Work to Rule was used as a tactic by prime-time winning trades’ organizers. Seldom, if ever, do the trades’ organizers use it today. Work to Rule, when used by the non-union, gives them control over their lives while working on the job and sometimes even off the job. It can create cohesion among workers.

However, without unions to provide support and transparency, the typical non-union workers will find themselves without work.

Labor Rising has been working with the administrators of the non-union groups on a tactic that can succeed. That tactic is for non-union trades workers to use an employment contract with whomever they work for.

The contract can be simple and straightforward. It can lay out the terms, conditions and pay that the non-union worker would work under for the duration of that job. Examples would be being paid to lease (by the contractor) the tools/truck they bring to the job similar to some that get “rig pay”; per diem reimbursement for travel and lodging; and getting paid for testing of all types. In upcoming blogs we’ll discuss pay for other features.

We’re not talking about a 1099, but rather workers having their own terms and conditions for employment agreed to or they do not “man” the job. Using social media, certain jobs in the world of non-union can be marked as those that will not comply. In this day of skilled worker shortages, good luck getting that job done.

Per the Labor Department, both union & non-union trades are approximately 1 million workers short (on the U.S. side) of full employment. The odds of the non-union workers demanding and getting an employment contract is increasingly excellent.  

Is the average worker, union or not, capable of writing such a contract? In today’s world – absolutely. Of course, if someone helped with templates & education for the variety of employment contracts that would help. Some types of jobs would warrant an expanded form of employment contract, which is doable.

To that end Labor Rising could build a non-profit 501c3 with the purpose being to educate and provide specific help to workers so they understand & can use an employment contract.

Most workers can do this themselves, using simple language – which is the best language. As more and more employment contracts populate the construction landscape, contractors’ lawyers will do everything they can to undermine them. That is why solid and consistent contractual terms and conditions will be critical to workers, in conjunction with the education on how to ensure compliance with them within the existing framework of federal & state employment laws. As the world of construction changes, so must the employment contracts.

Work to Rule on the union side of PLAs and employment contracts on the non-union side will empower workers to again work in solidarity! Those who stick their union card in their boot and work both sides can be a conduit to connect ALL workers.

Building Trades unions are at the end of their being anything resembling a free and democratic trade union built on one person one vote and offering a true voice, if not power, at the table with the contractor alliance members.

Non-union members, along with union members, can take back their combined power on the job using the two tactics, Work to Rule and employment contracts, for their respective groups.

A contemporary trades union may very well be the result. We at Labor Rising will work to that end unless our senior leader’s step into the breach of labor battles of today and start winning!

North American workers are waking out of their slumber and organizing is on the rise. The trades continue their losing ways entirely because of our International Presidents’ relationship with management alliances. Our IPs WILL NOT allow field organizers to bring the heat on owners, end-users, developers & even Construction Managers – to use field slang! We play small ball with bottom-up and top-down with the subs – a loser by design over the decades in the trades.

Also, many union members have come to understand what Work to Rule means on the job and the value of using these tactics as a means to a work life that is better compensated & more $$$ in your pocket. Keep building numbers and continue to send that info Labor Rising’s way.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo


Labor Rising


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