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Negotiations or Capitulation –


In negotiation, a mutually satisfactory result is vital. However, the environment of market share looms large in the outcomes for the trades.

Knowing what the results of negotiations over time with management are, will help determine if the trades are growing or dying.

Case in point, increased uses of PLA, concessionary bargaining of wages, benefits and conditions, new worker classification, ratios, loss of per diem and many more tell us as workers of the condition of the union market in which we make our livings.

The 3 generally accepted outcomes of negations are win – win; win – lose and lose – lose.

Win – win used to occur with our union contractors and when the Building Trades unions had a significant market share. Because we do not – very often the non-union are negotiating our Collective Bargaining Agreements because of their larger market share. Membership feels that the union may have sold out, which can happen, however the union negotiating in a non-union market has little leverage.

Win-Lose is predominately occurring in the Building Trades, now for decades – regarding negotiations; because we have been collaborative with management to our near demise. Management has little to no fear of the Building Trades delivering on a threat. Shame on you banners and demonstrations that produce few victories, and management knows how to defeat our mostly feeble organizing initiatives to date!

Lose – lose is just over the horizon and is a known near certainty. We call it a “race to the bottom” and both union and non-union are aware of it! Once BT unions are rendered useless, and are at best company shills – the real VALUE of unions will again be sought after. A living wage, independent power from management, decent benefits and conditions.

The Building Trades have been conceding more and more ground in round after round of negotiations with end-users, developers, construction managers, GC’s and subs for decades. The use of “Value on Display” as the go 2 strategy is why. In trying to negotiate with parties that have demonstrated time and again they have no interest in having “mutually satisfactory” results. A win-lose outcome has developed with the BT on the negative side of the equation.

Ask the New York City BT’s about the near devastation of the residential high rise markets going non-union along with a very aggressive non-union element thru-out the boroughs.

NYC represents what is occurring thru-out North America, and only a handful of urban cities can still be called union markets and most of those markets suburbs are under assault from non-union.

Are unions losing their grip in NYC??

NYC’s union vs. non-union construction battle intensifies as financial and political ‘perfect storm’ takes hold

March 01, 2016
By Kathryn Brenzel

Another example of win – lose negotiations, with the crafts (in this case the Ironworkers) on the losing side of the negotiations in the power sector.  It is at the Plant Vogtle project in South Carolina.

International tout these types of negotiations as victories for the union and workers – you decide!

IW Local 846 – set up by the International for rebar.

A little over a year ago IW’s on the project make:

  • $27.72 on the check
  • $6.47 an hour in annuity or money purchase plan – a type of defined contribution plan
  • .85 cents in H&W for coverage of just the IW. Another $60 per week if you want coverage for your children. No coverage for spouses
  • .80 in bonus fund or vacation fund – deducted from employees/workers check

Effective 9/1/2015 and coincidently approximately the same time that Flour-Daniels takes over the construction management at this site – here is the revised IW’s package.

CB&I Out, Fluor In at Vogtle and V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Plant Construction Projects

10/28/2015 | Aaron Larson

  • $33.69 now on the check
  • $5.97 of the $6.47 of the former money purchased plan above is transferred to the check and accounts for the “RAISE”
  • No per diem
  • .50 cents stays in the now converted money purchase plan to a profit sharing plan. The difference is who controls the plan. In the case of a profit sharing plan, the employer controls the plan
  • No membership vote whatsoever and 846 members find out via a letter after a done deal
  • The rest stays the same as shown above

The non-union on the project make;

  • $29.50 on the check
  • $75 dollars per day in per diem
  • For $80 a week the non-union workers can purchase a family H&W plan from BC/BS.
  • A small but real 401K plan

The union receives $1.50 for the apprenticeship, which has trained numerous and current members working non-union on the project.

The union does not get reimbursed for training by the union members, now working non-union. So in effect we are training the non-union and no charges and/or reimbursement is pursued/recovered.

The BM has not asked any of the union workers to conduct a formal organizing campaign on this and other projects; and no one we talked to has been asked to be salts or field organizers.

This project is looking to add another 100 rodbusters to the union side –

“Local 846, Georgia

IMMEDIATELY NEED JOURNEYMEN RODMEN and rodmen with rigging certifications for job at Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia – journeyman scale $33.69 per hour – if interested please contact the local ASAP – contact the local for additional information at 803-644-2187 or toll free 866-336-9163 option 1 (6/13/16)”

The local looks like they will be “topping out” 6th period apprentices to help fill the need. How many on the non-union side which may/will come from union IW’s, and will fill the jobs on the non-union side? Sticking their “card” in their boot!

This is NOT exclusive to the IW’s. All sectors of industrial work use less “NET” Building Trades members today and this type of dealing is rampant.

So even in back to back years of record construction, the trades cannot get increases – but the non-union can.

This is not sustainable and the union workers and union contractors are by design being transferred on projects like this all across North America.

As union members we have to have leadership that does not see this as a victory either in NYC or South Carolina. We need to demand a plan of action and be on-board with verifiable growth. We need to jettison what doesn’t work!

Negotiations and the trends and outcome can tell us a lot if we quit spinning it.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Right now, and for approx. the last 2 decades it is most Internationals preferred way to negotiate the union workers down to keep management happy – because we have NO plan to WIN!

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


A link to a winning plan which Labor Rising will start discussing in detail in our next several Blogs.!AmKOi71GyLcgkRDGsNrLWiSeduGk

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