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Building Trades Bashing or Valid Critique –

Status Quo

276 Building Trades unions, and 552 participants of the actual Labor Rising programs to date, are the only ones that can answer that. For all others it is – ___________ fill in the blank.

Labor Rising is for sure an enigma, instilling new 21st century concepts and strategies to a group that is heavily invested in a strategy that isn’t working and preserving the status quo!

Question posed to our Rank & File and Leadership, regarding bashing or valid critique?

What dynamics must be in play that have crippled market share development in the Building Trades for 25 years?

Let’s stipulate that in this discussion we are talking “net” bottom line numbers of the BT Internationals. That should be the base line and agreeable to all. Let’s further stipulate that the numbers are coming from The Construction Chart Books from 92 till now, and in their 5th edition, The Internationals LM’s and Form 5500’s, and are our own numbers. Agreeable?!?

Now back to the equation at hand – the Building Trades are left to believe one of two possibilities regarding continued and ongoing losses in market share.

The first is that every General President over the last 25 years, including all Rank & File Organizers, Market Development Reps, BM, Agents etc., which are all over the entire country and in every trade; and through every type of economic conditions “ARE” seemingly incapable in advancing market share in sufficient numbers to grow – “NET”? Think of that statement and all it entails, and the mantra of words we use like “use all the tools in the tool box”. Add to that, all the development of programs across all quadrants at our disposal, that where designed to grow market share.

Myriad of actions, tactics & strategies taken by the Building Trades which include, but are not limited too; and which are paid for with hundreds of millions of dollars of the membership’s money. Like extensive Labor/Management collaboration, concessionary bargaining and development of new classifications, Standards of Excellence programs, drug and fit for duty standards, specialty and industry agreements, extensive training upgrades to both apprenticeships and journeypersons, portability of workers, worker and community education and outreach programs, advertising, professional development and more.

Taken as a whole – the continuing loss of market share clearly and very pointedly express that we have failed to use the above strategies and tools to advance market share.

So either everyone, from every trade, and in every environment and economic conditions “CAN NOT” do their job – OR – the above set of strategies are flawed, taken as a whole, and as importantly, taken separately?

To the possibilities that the width and breathe of those charged with advancing our trades (which is really all of us) are incapable – that is pure BS in every way imaginable – but also according to those professionals that are charged with knowing these things – impossible. Yes the numbers are staggering when you see them, and since the Labor Rising group did see those numbers and help build them, they are staggering! What those numbers demonstrate is that – IT’S NOT THE PEOPLE SIDE OF THE EQUATION!

Now the second part of the equation is that the primarily reason for sustained and continued loss of market share is the underlying strategies which are the Value proposition (collaboration) & Branding, and thinking that we are a business.

This is where either you believe Labor Rising to be “bashing”, or is it providing measured and substantiated detailed numbers that overwhelmingly say it’s the strategy side of the equation.

In every way possible that can be objectively measured – the strategy of collaboration and branding has failed to achieve very clearly stated objectives. More jobs at a CBA rate.

The numbers are not mine, but the Building Trades own numbers, and are very quantifiable regarding market share.

The more the Building Trades continue on our present path and strategy of collaboration and branding, the more market share we will loss if we do not yield to this fact!

This correlates exceedingly high when studied and measured. Over the last 25 years the more we present ourselves to the end-users, construction managers, general contractors and contractors, the more market share we have lost. They have a high degree of CERTAINTY in how to handle the issue of union labor and make business decision accordingly.

Every segment of those that want concessions of every type from the Building Trades; to those camps that want the unionized Building Trades to vanish, as in forever – have gone to school on the strategies we have developed and consistently deployed.

From our own union contractors that face competitive pressure on bids, to the non/anti-union contractor, general contractor, construction manager and end-users all rely, let me repeat RELY – on the current strategies of  the past 25 years to defeat and/or to continue to erode the Building Trades market share.

Said in a simpler way, the more we talk to everyone that would eliminate and/or restrict our growth, the more market share we loss.

The Building Trades is continuously and constantly providing the very information needed to beat us.

Image a sports team, politician, business etc., always letting the opposition knowing precisely their strengths and weaknesses at literally all times. How much easier is it to defeat that entity?

Add to it, the power of information that we provide the opposition in the comfort of their own office; the very real and limiting situations provided in law, such as secondary activities, recognition, strikes, slowdowns, coercion, credibility determination and quit a few more; and we are, by our own current strategies – literally put in a box and kept their by those that don’t want to deal with us and defeat us.

The 552 participants that have attend our program, come to understand what that looks like in the real world they are charged with improving. Each in their own way and consistent with their respective leadership change how they “may” approach increasing market share going forward.

So my Brothers & Sisters – those of you that are loyal to a fault, and not yielding to hard vetted numbers are in fact the issue.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising

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