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Union Organizing & Vegas

Most brothers and sisters, when asked if they won in Vegas, may say that they “broke even” or “made some money”.

If that were the case, Vegas would cease to exist or at least not thrive.

Labor Combat Organizing College’s point is that many in Organized Labor continue to say that they are “breaking even” in market share. Some even insist that they raised market share and density, without looking at “net” market share. Looking at a true composite of market share over the last 25 years using numbers provided by LM of the Internationals, Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, DOL, The Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Users Round Table, The Bureau of National Affairs and Associated Builders & Contractors shows that union labor is at approximately 6.7% in the private sector in 2012, and a little higher in construction.

The numbers clearly show that the Building Trades are co-operating and marketing ourselves right out of existence.

I often wonder what our forefathers, who in many cases are our own family members, would think of our numbers and how we spin them.

Critical and not political evaluation of an organization is of vital importance for growth. So simply stated either our organizing strategies or the people implementing those organizing strategies need to be changed.

So let’s evaluate that statement?

On the people side of the equation are those charged with organizing which are essentially all union leadership and really, membership too?

What is germane to this evaluation is that throughout the width & breathe of the Building Trades, we are to accept that all individual and combined actions of thousands of unions have not been able to increase market share. So with every combination of existing strategies and tools working in every possible combination, the Building Trades collectively have not raised market share. Again, with the sheer numbers and combinations, combined with hard working leaders – working to solve a difficult issue, our collective market share numbers continue to fall.

So the numbers state that the leadership has put the work in, and in fact demonstrated that it is not the people side of the equation!

So let’s examine the strategy side of the equation.

Bottom-up in construction, as a strategy to raise market share is a failed “strategy”, and has been for 2 plus decades. NLRB reports that when we win an election, that we win very few through-out the building trades.  However, the election is only one in many steps. When we win, you have to get an initial contract. veteran organizers will attest to that very difficult task. “IF” you get a contract, the percentage is approximately 45% that the contract will be up for a de-cert vote in 1 year. (NLRB) Bottom-up is NOT a strategy, but rather a tool for construction organizing. The continuation of new organizers running around trying to get non-union workers to sign is a poor way to organize. Also, if you refer to The Construction Chart Book, published in April 2103; take a look at the demographics of the construction workforce and the age and numbers of baby boomers that make up the work force. Our health & welfare plans will be severely distressed should we arbitrarily try to organize the non-union contractors without a specific plan.

Top-down as a strategy has also NOT produced an increase (net) in market share for the last 20 plus years. By the numbers, top-down – and the more enhanced business proposition of value-added used since 2002 has done little more than hold market share (which was low) through 2006; and has in fact lead to a quicker decline in market share since 2007. If you also add in the fact that our combined Building Trades unfunded pension liabilities will also retard any top-down/value-added initiative. The practice of organizers cold calling non-union contractors is a fundamentally poor way to organize and the numbers bear that out. The bottom line is that NO non-union contractor is voluntarily signing our CBA!

I have been to 9 anti-union seminars hosted by Jackson-Lewis, The Burke Group and others; and will report that the anti-union contractors use our marketing initiative’s to delay and re-direct, and also to see what type of leaders are visiting them. They are keeping “their enemies close”! So for example a new BM, Organizer, Building Trades Officer, District Council Officer etc., is scouted for how they present themselves and their union. The anti-union contractors can also use the subterfuge of co-operation in many ways to delay working with us, also when we’re talking with them we’re not using pro-active concerted action to organize!

So to summarize, for the past 25 years, any and all combinations of all available strategies and tools used by hard working intelligent leaders have not produced an increase in market share.

It is left to the reader, is it the people or the strategies?

The numbers would overwhelming state that it’s the strategies.

The definition of insanity is – “doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result”.

LaborCombat, TechCombat & CombatConstruction are all original and unique strategies/programs that emphasize an asymmetrical approach to organizing the “non-union” contractors by exploiting their clients, credit & social footprint as the primary way to build market share.

In Solidarity,

Danny L Caliendo
Senior Organizer/Founder
Labor Combat Organizing College
www.LaborCombat.com
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danny@laborcombat.com

 

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