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The Anniversary of The Crossing of the Pettus Bridge and Part 3 for Building Trades Members: Winning in the Trades

Before reading on, I strongly suggest you use the link below to listen to One More Bridge to Cross, a song composed by Joe DeFilippo and performed by the R.J. Phillips Band.  The song commemorates this week’s anniversary of the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge:

What happened on that now historic bridge is what true activism embodies – action! Not a decal on your car or an emblem embroidered on your jacket or a tough looking tattoo!

Try, just once to think about the McKees Rock Strike of 1909, the Steel Strike of 1919 and the Textile Workers Strike of 1934. Those movements were all about real action, not just yelling and screaming about how skilled we are and that ONLY the Building Trades can build. Reality is that since the early 70’s thru today, the non-union has done 80% or more of the total building in the U.S. In fact, it is 87% today and trending up.

Think about how Mother Jones and Delores Huerta combined labor activism with social justice. Again, action – not just a Power Point Presentation.

Think about George Washington and our founding fathers & mothers. Patriotism was action for them – not a punch line. They, along with labor, civil and social justice activists of times past put careers, families and even lives on the line. They didn’t whine that they had to have a vegan diet once caught and then roll over to save themselves from the consequences of their pseudo convictions.

The trades, since the early 70’s, has not advanced ANY significant improvements to members’ lives. However, we still post memes of what labor has done to help the lives of all in North America, as though we were personally instrumental in those fights.

The “Baby Boomers” in particular will be torched as it relates to advancing activism of ANY kind in the history books! Most want to join the trades for no other reason than a paycheck for a period of time!

At Labor Rising, we are finishing Part 3 of what specific action the Rank & File of the trades can take to change how history will record us.

Today, the R&F hold ourselves in high esteem because of the Value on Display model that has pumped up our egos with skill-based rhetoric – a prime-time diversion to keep the members occupied! However, statistics clearly indicate that since the early 70’s thru today, we in the trades are considered to be no more than a punk to management.

Our next blog will be specific on how the R&F can bring massive leverage to both senior management and our own international presidents. Spoiler alert: we’re talking about activism that challenges us to be more that a chest thumber. A MOVEMENT is when we work for something that we may in fact never see! It is for our children and their children.

We’re talking about action that can be taken today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes to bring about change and transform the trades to one member – one vote democracy! Non-union workers will also want to get on the bandwagon, and this will give us common ground to ALL advance together.

We’re talking about action that senior construction management, or our internationals can do nothing to thwart. We cannot lose our jobs and we will get paid while taking this action if we are working.

If enough members, regardless of political leaning, are fed up with being told what and how to run their trades’ lives with zero input, then the action we’ll present can multiply across North America in less than a month.

It has nothing to do with social media or begging for a place at the table.

We can level the playing field of labor and management and contribute to breaking the tri-partite alliance. The action we’ll present is leaderless, although some may want to seize that mantle once R&F gains traction.

This action is not for those members who have the mentality that “I’m lucky to have a job.” This is for those members that say, “I was looking for a job when I found this one!”

Part 1 of how the trades win is: Lose the Carpenters and declare their jurisdiction vacant. The reader will come to understand why that is not happening.

Part 2 of how the trades win is: Becoming our own Construction Manager and even a true temp agency. The reader will come to understand why this will not happen.

Part 3 will entail 1,700 words +/-, so read the blog and sleep on it. If and when you find that what LR writes to ring true, act on it! Labor Rising coordinates and organizes and is a collection of some of the best past leaders, reps and labor activists.

Every number and trend clearly demonstrate that minus intervention by members, the trades are near their end. Pensions are at risk, technology in construction delivery and especially modularization is already here. The concentration of hours under PLA’s are ripe for CURT/Business Roundtable and the couple of dozens of construction managers that serve them – in pulling the rug out from under the combined trades. Inflation caused by greedy corporations will turn inward to slash wages and benefits – especially if you are union. And many other items we will discuss in our next blog.

I’m always reminded of this quote. “It is better to live 50 years as a tiger rather than live 100 years as a chicken.” So, are we going to keep being victims with big mouths and one liners such as F*^k this which is tough guy bs whining, or step into battle?

“if you see a good fight – get in it”  Vernon Johns

Danny Caliendo


Labor Rising

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