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The Building Trades Has Many PIGs (Passive Income Generators) Feeding Off the Trough Fed by the Rank & File

The definition of Passive Income Generators: a business (Building Trades promote themselves as businesses) that produces passive income that can be used to offset passive losses (pitiful attempts to sell themselves and us).

The Building Trades, trades’ Internationals and their marketing arms all use the term Value, which as a noun, denotes the importance, worth or usefulness of something or someone. One of the PIGs is the NABTU (North American Building Trades Unions). This organization claims to provide “VALUE”, as the “leaders” consider themselves savvy negotiators. But let’s look at the evidence. The total numbers of hours lost on PLA jobs dwarf those gained “NET” on agreements.

Don’t take our word for it. Let’s use an example directly from the NABTU website.


“This national agreement is the first of its kind in the U.S. and sets the bar for working conditions and equity, creates career opportunities, and ensures projects are built with the safest and best-trained workers in America”.

Reality – the trades get 25% of the work in the first year, rising 5% for the next 3 years, topping off at 40% —  HOPEFULLY!?! Project Labor Agreements have a history of changing or being restricted and/or canceled.

So, who is doing the balance of the work? Workers who the project owner sees fit to employ. If we have the “BEST” craft skills in the world, is 25% truly all the NABTU can negotiate? Use this example multiplied by hundreds of concessions in ALL industry sectors and project out the loss of wages, benefits, conditions, per diem, percentage of the job being union, working with non-union, etc. The Rank & File knows this to be true because they see it every day! All the while the staff of NABTU typically make 6 figure salaries and nearly half million at the top!

Another example is the TSMC chip production just outside of Phoenix, with a few more to follow. Huge numbers of Louisiana & Texas plates on this mega job. Phoenix BT cannot get past the gatekeeper. The NABTU will act as Knight in Shining Armor, in their mind, and TRY to secure any hours at this point. This job has been ongoing for over a year now and the hours slip away due to a complete lack of ORGANIZING ability.

At the end of this blog is an article that discusses typical issues expressed by local & state BT leaders. Measurable numbers indicate it has gotten worse in every way possible – “NET”!

Shaun Enright is the BT leader for the Northwest Ohio Building Trades. Think of Robbie Hunter or Lee Newgent – Shaun is in that class. Call Labor Rising’s bluff and see how many CBA’s IBEW 8 (Shaun’s home local) has signed when everyone else is only recruiting and selling.

More PIGs –

One only has to know of the NMAPC (National Maintenance Policy Agreement Policy Committee) to understand the sheer magnitude of hours lost on projects across North America from around 1970 to now. The trades and NABTU roll over to more and more demands made by end-users generally represented by CURT (Construction Users Roundtable). Lots and lots of 6 figure salaries here paid off the backs of the Rank & File.

The Rank & File also has a HOG in our midst (Heart of Greed) ….

….and that would be CURT, which has some interesting alliances that our International Presidents conveniently OVERLOOK.

American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC
National Right to Work – NRTW
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Heritage Foundation 
Tea Party
Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc – ABC

All of the groups listed above have to be fed big money to survive – we’re not talking chump change.

The above groups, and others, are the anti-union, anti-worker entities that put the strategic policies of entities such as Construction Users Round Table (CURT) and the National Manufacturers Association (NMA) into action. They all have extensive networks that work at the state and community level to promote and fund their agendas. CURT’s is their Local Construction Users Group, which legally buys (lobbies) national, state and local Politian’s good will.

Since an entity like CURT works 7 days a week to bring about the demise of organized labor as we know it, why is it that our IPs feel they want to collaborate with them? If the Building Trades allow a bully to continue to take their lunch money, then they shouldn’t be surprised when the bully takes it all!

Labor–Management PIGs

The trades have them working with owners, managers, contractors from across North America. A lot of R & F dues that are paid out result in a negative return on investment, as BTs consistently have been losing market share over time. So, what is their purpose – to lose? In any other arena they get fired! 6 figure titles to lose! Can’t make this stuff up folks!

When our respective trades claim they educate thousands of contractors and end-users, one can only conclude that our marketing entities aren’t very good at their jobs. When 88% of all construction is non/anti-union with the sheer number of double-breasted contractors, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the union side is feeding intel to the non/anti-union side that literally kills us!  

An example here is Bechtel. They use Custom Mark for union work when and if they need or want too. Any bets on union hours vs non-union for total job hours including subs?

Article From the Sentinel – Tribune

Union requests labor investigation of First Solar

By Roger LaPointe -December 15, 2022

ROSSFORD — An alleged labor immigration violation by First Solar has been reported to the Department of Labor by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8 and investigations of the new First Solar construction project at plant number three in Lake Township are being requested.

The allegations were reported by Joshua Abernathy, a spokesperson and business agent for Local 8.

“I represent the electrical workers employed by Rudolph Libbe’s subcontractor; GEM Industrial. I visited the job site and observed approximately 100 foreign nationals performing work typically performed by American workers in the building and construction trades industry,” Abernathy said.

Rudolph Libbe is the general contractor for the site, but not listed as the company or entity committing the alleged violation. The company listed as committing the alleged violation is First Solar, with the nonimmigrant workers possibly placed with three different businesses: TERA, Grenzebach and/or GPSI.

First Solar’s Chief Manufacturing Operations Officer Mike Koralewski said there have been no violations.

“The work conducted at our new Ohio facility is in accordance with the National Maintenance Agreement and contracts signed with individual vendors,” he said in a statement.

Abernathy said that the impact is felt by the electricians in lost wages, retirement and health care and lost tax revenue to the local communities, state and federal government.

“It’s not a trained quality workforce being brought in to displace American workers,” Abernathy said.

The complaint was received by the Department of Labor on Aug. 3, detailing 14 alleged violations Abernathy witnessed related to possible H-1B/H-2B visa abuse at First Solar PGT3, located at 28380 Tracy Road. The plant is scheduled to open early in 2023.

Among the violations are failing to pay the prevailing wage and fringe benefits, that U.S. workers were displaced and that U.S. workers with higher qualifications and skill levels were displaced by foreign workers.

Also listed in the complaint against First Solar are subcontractors TERA, GPSI and the Grenzebach Group.

“At one time, Gem Industrial peaked at approximately 150 electrical workers on site. When the foreign workers showed up to work, on work never assigned to Gem or any other local contractor, Gem started to lay off (U.S. workers) and is now down to less than 30 employees doing electrical work,” Abernathy said In a follow-up interview. “That portion of the work was never going to be an American job. Gem was never given any of the work.”

In the complaint, Abernathy wrote that he observed approximately 100 foreign workers performing the work at First Solar plant off Ohio 795 that is currently under construction.

“Working at a pace of 10-hour days, six days a week, for nine months plus, totals over 266,000 man-hours lost and some $18.5 million in lost wages that would have been appropriately taxed for federal state and local income taxes,” Abernathy said.

The IBEW list of work performed by foreign laborers includes: wiring involved for the install of assembly line and associated conveyors, the offloading, locating, staging, tracking and installation of material, setting of motor control cabinets, raceways, and wiring routed between control cabinets and field devices on equipment, installation of task lighting and indicator lights, the mounting of field devices and electric motors and terminations of all control and power for motors devices and cabinets. All of the listed work is considered by the union to be standard industrial electrical work regularly performed by members of the local union.

There are also potential safety issues involved, he said.

Abernathy said that the controls being installed by the foreign workers “include the limits and emergency stops that protect the line workers operating in close proximity to the equipment.”

First Solar was asked to comment on the allegations reported to the Department of Labor.

Koralewski said that First Solar’s manufacturing equipment suppliers are required to provide personnel to each site in order to install, maintain and troubleshoot machine performance.

“First Solar requires each of these suppliers to comply with all regulations applicable to their employees,” he said in the statement. “It must also be pointed out that the facility, which is expected to be commissioned in the first half of next year, is the product of over half-a-million hours of work performed by union tradespeople.

“First Solar is investing billions of dollars in American manufacturing, which is expected to make us the largest employer in the U.S. solar manufacturing sector with over 3,000 direct employees in four states, while indirectly supporting over 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025,” Koralewski wrote.

The union has asked for additional assistance in the investigation from state and local officials, including U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo. The office of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has provided assistance in filing the complaint.

Keep sitting on the sideline Rank & File and let those listed above keep playing you. We will go down together, OR maybe use Work 2 Rule to remind those above who pays their wages. More to come, Labor Rising is doing a bit of recruiting, too!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny Caliendo


Labor Rising

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