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Union Organizing & Following the Money –

The theater of making President Obama the republican’s piñata is just that – it defines in public a perception of a Republican agenda. It is subterfuge to their real agenda.

Rhetoric and political theatre masks a very real high stakes poker game of power and greed playing out behind the curtain.

Karl Rove’s masterful use of party partisanship is a political game on steroids that few in Washington can play. By keeping all Republicans acting on partisan votes, he has crafted a perception that Democrats are also a partisan party – and can cast no stones.

Behind the scenes is the largest pot of totally legal cash of all time – the Rebuilding of America. The Republicans will do everything they can do to put off the infrastructure needs of this country. When the infrastructure is “literally” crumbing under the public’s feet; the demand to fix it will be so fierce that the republican’s will have the leverage to weaken/get-rid-of all manner of laws in place to destroy unions. They will/are starving out all the Building Trades unions. The last area Building Trades still have decent market share in construction is – Heavy & Highway.

The last numbers are dated and have declined even further since 2008 and are taken from the National Heavy & Highway Coalition website.

A much better website for construction organizers/agents to understand the trends within our industry is The Construction Chart Book, 5th Edition – no one knows of this excellent resource.

The website Labor Rising used is and by their numbers:

(BTW – this website demonstrates exactly why labor is losing – it is not current and is a shining example of starting a plan of action and not following thru.)

17 states have 0% union market share in H & H construction
4 states have 1-9% union market share in H & H construction
5 states have 10-25% union market share in H & H construction
Total of 26 states have 25% or lower union market share in H & H construction

By contrast:
3 states have 100% union market share in H & H construction
4 states have 90-99% union market share in H & H construction
8 states have 75-89% union market share in H & H construction
Total of 15 states have 75% or higher union market share in H & H construction

20 states are pro-union, with a union market share of 51% or higher in H & H and what a coincidence, are the main targets of Right to Work!

The 3 states which in 2008 had 100% union market share in H & H are:
Illinois (Democratic Governor)
New Jersey (Republican Governor)
Rhode Island (Independent Governor)

Expressed in dollar volume, unions had approximately 49% of Heavy & Highway dollars as of December 31, 2008. That’s a long time ago, and there are not any updated creditable surveys published that I could find. Note: The source is LIUNA market survey report, which was conducted from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 and is the last survey posted. Keep in mind, the economy/stock market crashed in the 4th quarter of 2008. And, in the 5 plus years since the survey, a decidedly anti-union sentiment has been building in both our business and political arenas

The biggest pot of cash and also major hits to unions would be the Top 10 list of states with $10 billion or more in Heavy & Highway spending. 7 out of 10 on the 2008 list are union states and provide the last muscle of the building trades’ H & H market share. They also would be the source of huge profits to the anti-union contractors, if they weren’t so union friendly.

So all of the whining by politicians, labor and other talking heads about:

“Don’t the Republicans know…?”
“Don’t they care about jobs?”
“Don’t they care about the infrastructure?”
“Don’t they care about America?”

Frankly, the talking is what is killing unions – we need less talking and more action! The answer is the Republicans know exactly what they’re doing in spades, and will do anything necessary to advance their (aka big corporations’) agenda.

Republicans will jab with misdirection and political theater on any and all matters before Congress such as: abortion, marriage equality, entitlements, etc…which is a diversion Brothers & Sisters. However, make no mistake about it Brothers & Sisters, the biggest pot of gold – the knockout punch of power, money, pork and jobs – is in play. Their agenda is to starve unions out and get our own Brothers, Sisters & contractors to jump ship to the anti-union side, or put them out of business.

When the infrastructure is massively decayed (and the most expensive to rebuild) and they acquire the necessary political leadership, these “junk yard dogs” will cash in at every level – from the stocks of the company’s manufacturing the items for construction; to real estate and to the actual construction and jobs which accompany all of the above. And they’ll pay pennies on the dollar for labor and benefits.

So, all the complaining on Facebook – without organized strategic actions en-mass – is just what Karl Rove is counting on. We all are about to find out once and for all if Democrats and Independents have any balls to go toe-to-toe.

Should we continue to be politically correct and not put actions to words, our days are numbered. Also, Obama as a friend of labor is useless & I know the Rank & File want more than words – we are ready for this fight!

Our leadership needs to grab this mindless piece of paper called a Corporate Charter and impose the rights of workers to have a CBA with actions necessary to achieve that mission. Hit them in the pocketbook!

Game time for Leadership. It’s the 4th quarter, but we can still win – However, we need some new quarterbacks and a proactive game plan.

In my mind I could tell the exact moment when Trumka ceased to be an effective labor leader; it was the July 12, 2012 press release accompanying the AFL-CIO’s Campaign for a Workers’ Bill of Rights, President Richard Trumka said, “We will be insisting that the power structures in American pay attention to the needs of the men and women whose labor drives this country.”

Wow – I’m sure Karl and the boys are quaking in their Redwings that labor is “insisting!”

Gotta be a “junk yard dog” to stand up to “junk yard dogs” or get out of the pound!

Danny L. Caliendo
Labor Rising 

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