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Michigan IBEW Locals Developing Their Opposition Research Skills –

IBEW Kalamazoo 1_2016

Tom Stephens from Rochester Research Associates working with the locals from Michigan IBEW.

Thank you to the events host, Brother Kraig Lee, BM of IBEW 131 Kalamazoo.

Opposition Research is base research on steroids – some internationals have solid research departments for base info that an organizer needs, Opposition Research is in its own world and without it – we can’t win!

What has long been missing is Opposition Research on the contractor/business and their personnel across 12 quadrants. Company website, company profile, company employees, news – all, legal – all, government info from 17 local, state and government sources, social media, company reviews, political affiliations, info on property owned and associated with principals, info and changes made to websites, germane other sources developed to support the quadrants above – translation, we’re not mentioning them here.

Opposition research cross-indexes and reverse engineers 90 sources in 12 quadrants to dig the dirt! No 2 or 3 fairly generic data bases currently being used by very few internationals can discover this level of information.

Opposition Research is one of 4 integrated parts of the Labor Rising’s strategy for increasing market share!

 Opposition Research – gives you the knowledge to propel our unions forward.

 The more knowledge you have, the more power you have. That’s what it’s all about.

The key to acquiring the knowledge you need is in Opposition Research. Opposition Research, found at the crossroads between common sense and keen professional practicality, is a term used to describe efforts to research the biographical, legal, criminal, educational, and financial background, along with prior media coverage, of a person or organization. The practice of gathering historical and real-time data on these entities may be considered both a tactical maneuver and a cost-saving measure to the Unions using it.

But what does all that mean?

It means that gathering detailed background information on a business and/or contractor is essential. It is also not for the faint-hearted, or easily accomplished by the everyday laymen. Opposition Research goes beyond simple Google searches and visual scanning of generic content. Partnered with a polished skill set, trained professional minds can locate pertinent information and advise us on how to use it.

Let’s stop and think about it for a moment?

Politicians embrace Opposition Research when they gather information about their opponent to strategize their campaigns and elections.

Military commanders use Opposition Research to know their enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, thereby strategizing a strong tactical battle plan.

Football coaches utilize Opposition Research when investigating the opposing team to prepare his players for an upcoming game. They know when the quarterback is recovering from a broken foot, when the linebacker was arrested, or when the wide receiver hasn’t caught a ball in three consecutive games. This information on their opponents is essential to creating a strong and winning game plan, and the philosophy carries over into all matters that concern unions increasing their market share.

What does this mean for us, Brothers and Sisters? In our world of construction, knowing the details of who we’re up against is key to gaining advantage on our markets. If there is an anti-union contractor competing with union contractors for a job, and that contractor has dozens of OSHA violations, is the defendant on multiple law suits, has liens, poor/bad credit, uses trafficked labor, illegal workers, under reports workers comp, has an unhappy workforce, recent fatalities, and employees that are associated with shady undertakings, along with many other areas of info – that background information can become very useful to unions winning the bid. This research provides us the power to ensure that the best possible contractor gets the job. Using these strategies, your organization will obtain the ability to prepare pre-emptive strategies with vulnerability studies geared specifically towards increasing market share on a level playing field!  We need to do our homework and be prepared from every angle to ensure the sustainability of our livelihood and the middle class.

This can be done market wide or used to put pressure on individual unscrupulous end-users, developers, construction managers and general contractors along with the subs.

Now, how do you acquire this information and how do you use it?

It’s possible that you have a staff member who is highly experienced in research and tactical communication, but it is much more likely that you do not. Luckily, you don’t need someone on staff.

This type research is not a skill that can be easily picked up. It is acquired from years of professional training. In the world of the Building Trades we know of only one group that has consistently provided best in class research. There were 2 companies, however one ceased doing business several years ago.

Learning to do Opposition Research is very much like how we train apprentices, both formal and hands on!

With proper use of Opposition Research, we can expect to increase market share because we have specifics to develop a strategic plan inside our unions respective Compression Zone(s)!

Without an integrated strategic plan which includes Opposition Research – the trades will continue to lose market share because it is putting the entire decision to use union trades OR NOT in the hands of business. Not an outcome that has benefits the trades for now over decades.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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