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Part 1 – How CURT would destroy the Building Trades –

Information gathering. The Construction Users Round Table (CURT) was established in 2000.

As reasonable people in the Building Trades, we consider collaboration and marketing. In contrast, businesses focus on weakness, opportunities and information to be acquired, used and exploited for higher profits. At the root of CURT’s strategy is information gathering. Without this first-hand knowledge their strategy would be severely compromised.

The irony that hasn’t been examined until Labor Rising’s research over the last 5 years is that end-users and non-union contractors get all the information they need to defeat the building trades from us – the building trades.

So let’s exam who benefits when a marketing rep/organizer uses the Value on Display approach to increased market share.

First, it’s a smart business model for the non-union contractor/end-user to have the union pursue them with their value proposition. When our reps are busy trying to build a relationship and sell the non-union on using union labor, the rep/organizer is not out doing other concerted activities which may have a real impact on the non-union contractor’s/end-users’ bottom line and perception. We are less likely to be defending workers’ rights to a living wage and demonstrating to the community that the non-union contractors’ business model may be in fact detrimental to workers and communities.

Secondly, because we are pursuing the non-union contractor/end-user directly we waive all secondary activity that may be available to the building trades. In talking to the non-union contractor/end-user we are in fact looking for RECOGNITION of our union. Once it is established by the bad guys that this is our intent, then all secondary activity is off the table – period! One call to the NLRB and we’re gone!

Third, we expose to the non-union contractor/end-user the inner workings of a local union all the way up to the international. They see turnover of reps and their abilities, temperament and habits. They can develop and implement strategies based on defeating ours.

Fourth, in efforts to sell our value, we as building trades address the things we like to hear such as “we are highly skilled” and “we have great safety training”. Put your business hat on. What the non-union contractor/end-user hears is the structure of state-of-the-art training and safety programs that are given to them for free, in the comfort of their office. The non-union contractor ask questions and get inside information so they can copy our programs for their own use. While our own union labor-management committees are well intended, the fact is that many companies are double breasted and few building trades unions have ANY fire walls to protect labor’s interests. We have provided information on every component of the building trades which is readily accessible to all contractors, union or not. Meeting go on endlessly or so they appear to those of us in the Building Trades. For the contractors it is an endless supply of information and delay, and all they have to say is let’s have yet another meeting? On the other hand, ask any contractor about their business model or to open their books and you would be told to go to Hell. The Building Trades’ job is to monopolize the workers and how we do that is our business, and our business only.

These are just four quick points. We do not need to talk in depth on Facebook and there is much more to go into. Think about this:  Who in the above scenarios has the advantage in the Value on Display strategy— the Building Trades with 10% market share or the non/anti-union contractors?

Value on Display has a place inside a much broader strategy to recapture our jobs. It is a tool, and at best should be limited in its use.

There is nothing in our research to indicate that CURT had any ability to acquire firsthand information from the Building Trades when they started in 2000. What gave them all the information they needed was an increase in labor-management co-operation/collaboration spawned by strategies promulgated by Breslin in 2002. A better Trojan horse has never been built since Troy.

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising

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