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Full Employment – Is Not Increased Market Share –

Since 1973 every time the economy has heated up in construction the Building Trades has lost market share – “net”! This cycle has now been repeated 4/5 times depending on who is keeping the numbers. Many of our leaders have been thru this a few times and appear content to do it yet again. This may be the last time!

We are told that there is yet another NEW strategy in place – great! However at no level is there any evidence that this NEW strategy is any different than from the past – past the name on the business cards. Find one place on Google, one document where the details are even articulated and developed? Mission statements do not count, show us the underlying developed details, budgets, operations, structure and on-going adjustments demonstrating this new strategies effectiveness or not.

Also for both the Rank & File and the Officers reading this, I would strongly suggest that you revisit your work hour’s reports. These reports are done monthly by the funds and show the hours submitted for the month, year and entire past.

In virtually all cases now “full employment” is a very measurable decline of hours worked and total membership, which is the new reality these locals are now being confronted with. Now that is “NEW” – that is very measurable and worthy of a new direction, different from the last 30 years or even the last 2 years. Even our officers that are pure politicians and cashing a check should be able to realize this.

The NEW reality of full employment as a composite is approximately an 18% reduction of hours and members.

There are very few offsets to the above such as the Gulf Coast work. The unions historically have had approximately 2% of the work these past 40 years in those areas. Reports are that the BT may do as much as 9% of the work and it is a lot of work, however this boom of work is not even getting Internationals back to the market share of 2008 – net, much less a more powerful percentage of market share!

Paying attention to the statements some of the leaders will be making going forward will be an art form when it comes to the spin that will be needed to get this round peg in the square hole that is market share!

At best what we do is recruitment for workers, which is not, and does not pass for organizing unless it is part of a greater overall strategy.

We in the Building Trades have done mostly recruiting for these past 30 plus years. Recruitment is not market development & organizing. It is taking workers and providing them to our existing markets. This practice of recruiting has come to pass as market development during these past few decades.

The real and only definition of organizing and increasing market share – net – is when we bring the non-union contractor along with their workers into the union regardless if the non-union contractors wants to come or not.

Also the Building Trades has to have the backbone in confronting the anti-union element and accepting their challenge. Market development reps and organizers now for decades have tried in vain to persuade those contractors. Unions appear to be deaf to the consistent statement of these anti-union contractors who repeatedly say that they would rather go out of business than sign with the Building Trades – why are we so reluctant to accommodate them? Just like a cancer, they grow and infect the host unless they are cut out.

The very first step in re-claiming our heritage is to quit selling BS to ourselves and our members when there isn’t a hard number anywhere to support it!

In Solidarity,

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising Group

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