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Being Loyal to a Fault –

This is the least desirable of all traits to have in a free & democratic labor movement.

Movement denotes actions which spew from a hot cauldron of risk taking, ideas, fairness, debate and energy. It is the foundations that the Building Trades was built on!

When doing our research for the Labor Combat book this was the dominant & determining factor that explains the stagnation of the Building Trades for now almost 50 years.

Being Loyal to a fault!

Allegiance to a person and not to the oath we all took – “to leave the Building Trades better than when we found it”!

It is exhibited in 2 very different ways.

The first type is in the officers that are wannabe’s. Pure politicians that will conform & defer to the senior officers. The old adage of these officers jumping when they are told is mind blowing as you watch it over time. The rationalizations keep pouring from their mouths and there is no amount of subjugation they will not endure to advance to the next title and pay grade.

They play follow the lead in virtually every aspect of what they do in their unions and funds.

Political calculations are at the forefront of these officers’ reasons for most of the actions they take. They worry about the next election and specifically how many votes they get and got compared to others on the ballot. They absolutely will not jeopardize that outcome with something as trivial as increasing market share and the movement needed to achieve that. As long as they have their army of voters in-line – done!

Usually this type of politicians is an intimidator and use’s economic measures to keep the workers in-line; and they are good at it in very subtle ways. My father once told me that as an officer “never hurt a worker in their honor and wallet” especially when they do not agree with you, or you are no more than a coward.

If you want to see market share dying right before your eyes in a union, look no further than this trait.

HOWEVER –

As it turns out being loyal to a fault is also a trait found in our best leaders which do right by the membership and have a track record to back it up. This trait in these types of leaders is best exemplified by being part of a team! It too has shown its long term effects on market share.

No one will step out of line – perhaps behind the scenes occasionally, but not to push the organization to be the very best they can be! This trait of conformity of leaders conflicts with the Building Trades being a cauldron of actions, ideas, debate & even opposition when needed.

Being a leader by its very definition means to break ranks on the core issues when warranted!

When is the last time you can remember a contested election for senior offices and general officers?

When is the issue King, and passionate challenges to the status quo acted on?

Why do we have to lose the middle class to activate a renewed energy & movement to be the Building Trades that all workers, union or not will commit too!

Loyalty to a fault has never put the best overall team on the field and never will – time for leaders that have the strength of character to step out of line and jump into the cauldron & forge a truly new direction!

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising Group

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