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Solutions – Part 1 of 5 Labor Rising Strategic Training –


For the next 5 Blogs Labor Rising/Labor Combat will lay out the differences between winning and losing!

The differences between Labor Rising and the existing Building Trades Organizing regarding market share development – EVERYTHING!

Here is a link to show what the trades are up against:!5503&authkey=!AKSmPrL74VifBCc&ithint=file%2cdocx

Labor Rising/Labor Combat research over years along with every single number overwhelmingly says that Value on Display, collaboration, Win-Win, ACE’s, all forms of top down, etc. – do not raise market share by their own use, or in any combination. Some wins here and there is not success – signing non-union contractors regardless if they want to or not and giving anti-union contractors their wish, which is that they would rather go out of business then sign a CBA – IS!

This year 1.5 trillion dollars of construction, a new record is being done and the combined Building Trades have lost market share – NET! If we back out the hours in Western Canada and the Gulf Coast we are getting beat bad.

All the Facebook posts on how non-union workers want a union will not manifest itself into gains without the Building Trades taking the fight to the end-user, developer, construction manager & general contractor! NOT THE SUBCONTRACTOR – WHICH IS ALMOST A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY!

The 5 integrated sectors that make Labor Rising the template for winning organizing are:

  • Compression Zone – is the KEY for organizing a market, sector or industry. It pulls together all relevant information to essentially re-structure markets. To organize a single company here or there whose total relevance to the grand scheme of the market is unknown because of lack of structure is not working even a little. How can a union organize a market without objective and not subjective/or opinion based market wide real time information?
  • Hiring – and controlling it, not taught by the trades whatsoever. The single best action the building trades can take in the existing environment and only Labor Rising trains organizers in this. The trades are intimidated by Oil Capital instead of following the precedent setting cases of MJ Mechanical and Custom Topsoil. Mass apps, control of hiring, temp hiring all controllable.
  • Opposition Research – not information gathering but aggressively “digging the dirt” and finding out the weaknesses of non/anti-union companies and using it pro-actively and how to use it.
  • Communications – both internal and external. Until an international’s membership is connected and the entire building trades is inter-connected we are pissing in the wind thinking we have any power in the 21st century use of social signals. Pure raw power to control messaging and it sits in our hands, unused. Leadership scared of its technology shadow, and we are paying for it big time. The trades are irrelevant in advancing our apprenticeships with technology. Passive use of social signals in not raw power, with a build it and they will come attitude. In politics we still say let’s call and write letters to express our dissatisfaction on anti-worker legislation. Unbelievable! Communications are doable and inexpensive relative to what we do now. We lack the will to do it and the vendors want to charge a fortune with long timelines along with endless meetings. Give it to us, it will be done NOW!
  • Union Contractor Marketing Program – advancing a value centric proposition has not only not worked –it is used against the trades to defeat us. This approach has real business and legal consequences. Talking to contractors especially in the Compression Zone(s) carry with it Recognition and Secondary dead ends which kill us. 95% of those those that have been thru our training have NOT been instructed on this – WHY? We have substantiated this numerous times and all any I/O, district rep has to do is go to an anti-union seminar/conference on staying union free and you will see it firsthand. This has been the case since 2004. Our membership as a Sales Engine, now that can be used to position our signatories in markets and be a real value in recruiting non-union contractors in an Compression Zone(s).

Compression Zone(s) development is taught exclusively by Labor Rising. Some of the Building Trades are trying to copy the common sense of this concept, however they all try to incorporate it with existing losing concepts. It doesn’t play well in the sandbox with losing tools, it sets the agenda for how to win! We in the trades have it ass backwards – advancing partial and incomplete tools and hoping to win, instead of building and researching our markets and players in our Compression Zone(s) and letting each tell us what it will take to win.

Regardless if it is rural or urban organizing. Local, district council or national organizing. All organizing starts with OBJECTIVE & PROACTIVE real time market development and research. All market formatting currently being done, if any is done at all, is done subjectively. It is partial and incomplete and heavily dependent on information which is lagging. The price of admission to effective organizing and winning is 120 hours to 250 hours or more, to develop all interrelated construction activity formatted in excel and other formats.

We have trained 679 organizers/reps/agents and only 6 have had any knowledge of how to specifically do this. It’s not the organizers fault, this has to be taught and it is not.

Teach what? Well let’s start with SIC/NAICS codes. WHAT!?! Exactly. Used extensively by business, banking, insurance and government – the last few generations of Building Trades organizers have NEVER heard of them. So what? Well unless organizers can format entire markets and then break that entire market done to subsets which are Compression Zone(s), they are going nowhere! Exactly what we have been witnessing for now 2 decades and which BTW is the last time SIC/NAICS codes were even taught. Here is a link to what they are:!5559&authkey=!AAgE8V_dEEnVInw&ithint=file%2cxlsx

Every business at every revenue level including 1099’s, labor brokers, traffickers, etc., all identified. This and all sorts of business critical information like credit ratings, formatted on excel. So what – we get lists of all kinds. Yes our internationals do have lists and we use them to call 20 non-union contractors to get a meeting with 5 type and the market continues to die. So much for those lists which are not inexpensive. The lists and information we are referencing are beast, built to win by. Approx. 660 front line organizers/reps we have worked with makes this true. But you have to do the work, have to go to school for excel and other technology training “IF” you want to win! 81 of 305 unions have built their markets out and have leaders that get real time info and can make reasoned strategic decisions on how to win.

Inside a Compression Zone(s) all things good will happen for the trades. First we are working from strengths. By definition a Compression Zone(s) will have existing union contractors in them, along with the non-anti/union contractors and the union’s density of that market is a known not a best guess.

The trades are having a hard time organizing a sock drawer, so it makes complete sense to organize and strengthen existing markets that are under attack. 40% -60% of a segment of a market that is union, say commercial work is no longer a good thing. Those union contractors are being beat on, so as much as we want to organize everything, the simple fact is we don’t have the resources to be spread that thin, and when we are, are losing ground rapidly. Also how many more union contractors can we lose in any given market? NONE! Losing just a contractor or 2 in a market may very well cede that market to the non-union.

OK that makes sense you may say – well then if that does then how about this. Right now as you are reading this, every expert on construction says that the universe of construction is both contracting and consolidating. WTF is that! Because of technology in construction delivery and the ramping up of more and more modularization in construction, and even with the offsets of record spending on construction, less total hours are needed to do any given job or project. If you have more than 5 – 10 years in the trades you see this now in the field. This is contraction – less opportunities for hours on a project even if it is union.

On the flip side is consolidation – you can think of it as mergers, which it is. In almost all markets of all types as we go forward, those markets can/will only support so many players – case closed. You could be a successful contractor, union or not and you may still be odd contractor out. If a market will support 5 prime time players and your number 6 – 9, you’re gone. Most of the consolidations are called Roll-ups, bigger companies buying successful smaller companies.

Well now back to the Compression Zone(s). Organizers properly trained can now figure out to a very high degree what strategies may be now needed and with specifically WHO!

So think this thru. A market going forward will only support X number of contractors? The union now has the edge in determining exactly who wins and who loses in a market and SETS the price on what that is. The union sets the price!

Example – 10 total contractors are in a commercial market at a certain revenue level. This market is both contracting and consolidating to say 6 contractors, and we as the union can/will have an absolute ability to determine who survives and goes forward. You are probably thinking price is the main factor in that determination. That’s how our Internationals think and they keep conceding on wages, benefits, classifications and rules all in an attempt to be competitive. They are trying in vain for now nearly 3 decades to make a value proposition saying that because we are more productive we can compete. Since they know the numbers they should know this is not going to be the case. We in the trades are at best 35% more productive throughout the trades, and yet the costs between the workers using the tools in the field are far more than what the 35% can cover. The math has never worked out and with 1099’s, temp workers, illegals, trafficked workers, (mostly legal BTW) etc., it will not. While those politicians cry about the injustice of it all – we are distracted by our mission. Organize the workers and the numbers will change the policies. If a union is competing on price then it by definition is losing. We think we are a BRAND and that we have customers. Organize and seek justice on behalf of all workers and we may turn back into a MOVEMENT!

In the Compression Zone(s) the union can create all sorts of diverse dynamics for that market. It will be dynamic and pro-active. In a Compression Zone(s) we as organizers can and will treat anti-union companies very different than non-union companies. We will know in advance what are the likely contractors involved with consolidation and contraction of the market and can either scuttle them or assist them, depending on what we want to see. NOT WHAT THE MARKET WANTS – WHAT THE BUILDING TRADES WILL ALLOW! We create huge uncertainty in project completion, liquidated damages, unprofitable costs incurred and the complete list favors the trades with the balls to do it.

End-users, developers, construction mangers will see the value of not being on the bad side of the trades re-structuring the construction world. They will have to share some of the pie.

Now if you can understand this brief explanation above just on Compression Zone(s) development, then here is the most significant difference between Labor Rising/Labor Combat and the existing methods of the trades!

We could care less about the non-union contractor that does our respective trades. Our organizing structure and strategic development is almost totally targeting the end-user, developer, construction manager and general contractor. What do you mean WILLIS! Just what it literally says. This cartel are the ones setting the tone out there not the downstream subs. Snap out of it, in America and Canada you want change, you go after the wallet of the entity with the money honey, and when we become successful at bringing pressure to bear – will win again.

And when we create huge uncertainty on a project’s outcome along with a whole host of legal labor unrest 21st century style – we will win again in numbers sufficient enough to raise our market share and density. The biggest issue out there is does our union’s leadership have the temperament & discipline to go toe to toe when the Compression Zone(s) indicates it is warranted – or are we going to talk and tuck our heads between our legs and claim we tried!

Labor peace is why a company used to sign a CBA, Collective Bargaining Agreement. To assure certainty. To provide labor peace. We want to collaborate with everyone while the world of construction uses us more and more on the margins. PLA’s are an erosion of our market share when objectively measured and are replacing CBA’s. Every industry uses the Building Trades less today than pick any point you want too! Once the world of construction transfers more hands and union contractors then say goodbye to PLA’s except where the Building Trades have become company unions and then the union workers will say good-bye because they don’t need 2 bosses – the company they work for and the unions giving any semblance of worker rights and independence. Then it all starts again – 21st century version.

This is but one part of an integrated organizing program – no fluff, winning and assuring that there is a MIDDLE CLASS and not the WORKING POOR! It is on us to erase inequities in the workplace.

This is only the tip of what we in the trades can do “if” we get off our asses and decide to win!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Labor Rising/Labor Combat


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