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6 Reasons Why Internationals Presidents Want to be Organizations and not Movements –

See who the women in the picture is at the end of the blog –

  1. Controlling employees is much easier than controlling members. Employees do what they are told, have a job, and think about themselves. A member belongs to a Movement that lifts the standards for all workers. They don’t have a job, they have a passion to balance the needs of capital and the needs of family and community. The trades leadership is jettisoning members asap and replacing them with recruited workers who keep their mouth shut. Leading a “MOVEMENT’ is flat out hard work to the IP’s of the last 30 years, especially when you can be an employment agency. Their checks and benefits are still the same – so why work hard?

 

  1. Yes, men and women. In organizations, the mission defines “what we do”, which in the Trades case is Value on Display. Value on Display provides employees at price points and conditions that management dictates, because they can! Success in an organization such as the trades means that everyone gets to stick around if they say YES to the IP du jour! Think of the time that it has taken to install Value on Display throughout all the trades. About 30 years to be precise. It is in all agreements at the Local, DC and International levels. It is a strategy for running a business organization. From recruitment to training. So, for 30 years those charged with oversite of senior officers have said yes for a price. The price isn’t always money. The business organization formally known as the Building Trades provides employees to companies; almost entirely on the company’s terms.

Why – because yes MEN have thought of themselves and their wants. All while shaking your hand and riding beside you on a bike. 30 years of YES MEN is a lot of people and why Value on Display exists!

 

  1. You get to be a victim if you’re an organization. No accountability to anyone! IP’s in an organization can blame economics, politicians, price, etc. and also act unilaterally to put down any semblance of Labor activism not conforming with Value on Display business strategy. Zero accountability. In MOVEMENTS, accountability is to a cause greater than any one individual. When it comes to making tough decisions, the cause is the top priority. The cause for the Building Trades Organization in the last 30 years is to be price competitive in a “race to the bottom” on behalf of company’s profits and dictates. VOD is a failure for 30 years in every way it can be measured. The cause for the Trades MOVEMENT last time it was successful was in defending workers’ rights and in obtaining a living wage, benefits and safe conditions. The difference between workers being in a middle class or becoming working poor is the heart of being either an organization or a MOVEMENT! Our IP’s for now 30 years have neither the soul or heart of leaders of a MOVEMENT! It is all about business and their needs.

 

  1. Business decisions “TRUMP” all decisions in an organization. Profit! Movements seek sweeping changes that balance what is right for labor and its workers and profits. The trades as a business organization lets business dictate to them that the Defined Benefit pensions of trades workers should be jettison. So, Value on Display (the IP’s) will comply. The business strategy of Value on Display has erased wages in massive amounts on jobs to be COMPETITIVE! It has erased benefits and conditions. It has erased Collective Bargaining Agreements, to be replaced with PLA’s which the IP’s claim is success. Value on Display and it collaborating with the very entities that want the trades gone has lost membership steadily for every year it has been around. Even in record construction periods!

 

  1. Organizations rule with an Iron Hand – case closed. Every aspect of the trades is controlled including any semblance of it being a democracy. Organization define success internally – just ask any IP how great their trade is doing. Movements define success as change that affects all in a positive way and with the members contributing all along the way. Think of the Fight for $15. The lowest wage workers as a MOVEMENT have done more in 3 years in more states and cities than the combined trades in 30 years. They have gone in completely opposite directions.

 

  1. Organizations give way to MOVEMENTS – but only when the employees work as members. When members challenge six figure IP’s/CEO’s that only appease management so they have enough bodies to have a seat at the table and a check. Employee or member? One carries with it the responsibilities of the future of the worker, their families, their communities and even the corporations’ future viability!

Understand that should you chose to be a member of a MOVEMENT – the work and even sacrifice of your actions mostly likely will not be seen by you. You are securing the future for your kids and their kids. That’s what our FOUNDERS did! Secure our future – and my generation of gotta get mine have allowed a once great movement to become a business on the brink of demise!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Malala Yousafzai 16 years old – first stood up to the Taliban when she was 11. A fierce and outspoken defender of a female’s right to education, the Swat Valley schoolgirl was shot and left for dead by them four years later aboard her school bus. The senseless act stunned the world, just as her recovery and continued activism — despite more death threats — have drawn many to her cause.

Malala is the Mother Jones of her country – as labor people should know, Mother Jones fought to get kids in school when companies thought they should be nothing more than cheap and expendable, as in dying, labor force. MJ was also one fierce advocate for workers’ rights! These 2 ladies represent what a MOVEMENT then and now looks like.

Employee or MEMBER! History will choose for you and your family if you don’t choose for yourself!

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

 

Lesson’s Not Learned by New Crop of International Presidents –

A return of “bottom-up” organizing is now underway by a few trades. Blitzes of workers and select market contractors in several states.

What it is – is a recruitment blitz, under the guise of organizing. There may be a few traditional bottom-up campaigns that develop and file for NLRB elections. We’ll see.

It is mobilization of Organizers, Agents and staff along with hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars of membership money, already spent, to recruit non-union workers. With RETENTION rates at or under a 1:1 ratio the trades are sucking wind for people. Between retirement of union workers and reverse recruitment of trained union workers by the non-union’s head hunters, along with work in most local markets now non-union, the trades simply are getting their asses kicked.

At the heart of this butt kicking are the International Presidents without a game plan. The IPs are sending troops out to RECRUIT enough bodies for continuing marginal viability. The blitzes are mostly in areas rich with existing and upcoming work, and the trades must shore up the body count to even have a shot at the work. Even if we get the bodies, union workers will see yet more concessions on those jobs – a temp agency with retreating wages, benefits and conditions. The issue isn’t the Organizers – given a chance and the proper tools, they would fight a smart and moral fight! Another crop of newly minted IPs which may think they have their 1st term to establish themselves. They don’t.

With these rounds of blitzes of non-union, unions have succeeded in sending a MESSAGE to the non/anti-union. They have collectively waved a red flag in front of a bull. Trouble is all they have is a red flag, not the lessons learned by prior bull fighters, no swords to fight, nor understanding of situational awareness of the presence and structure!

The present, and last few decades of history have been very clear – a failing strategy using Value on Display for nearly 30 years. Bottom-up abandoned decades ago with most organizers unfamiliar with constructing markets and labor law as a start. Most titled organizers have literally never set foot in a regional office, or taken ANY type of NLRB case through to the end. Recruitment is, and has been, dead on arrival using blitzes. Many multiemployer pensions are in jeopardy, and the list of failure is so much bigger – it is its own blog. BTW – the same IP’s which have presided over the loss of union power, are the same group that have pensions in jeopardy!

All of this on the watch of the current and prior IPs for the last 4 decades, and their loyal-to-a-fault YES MEN!

The YES MEN are even worse than the IPs – YES MEN to a fault – all towing the line for a title and position. Special place in hell for these MEN!

The Building Trades are testing the limits of incompetence across the board in leadership!

This group of IPs will be the last of any consequence.

The RED FLAG of these blitzes will manifest themselves very quickly into a push by forces loyal to the non/anti-union to deal the trades a fatal blow.

First, the non/anti-union will be on high alert. They will inoculate their employees in many meetings to come. The consultant and lawyer groups have a very potent story to tell about unions: the nepotism; the old boy club; the fact of many non-union workers being excluded when they did want to join; many failing pensions that are insolvent or projected to be; Unions themselves working behind the members backs to jettison defined benefits and only have defined contribution programs (which BTW is dictated to those IPs by management); dues and assessments on the rise, while pay, benefits and conditions are being undermined; hiring lists and the lot. While the non/anti-union are doing this en masse with 90% of the workers in a non/anti-union market.

Meanwhile on the other side, the Republicans will be, and are, gutting and repealing all manner of worker protections – NOW! This list is huge at both the federal and state level: RTW, Davis- Bacon, PLA’s all in the sites of a majority of federal and state legislatures that are R controlled. H-2B visa requests are off the charts for workers and we will most likely see the use of skilled immigrants to supplement/backdoor H-2B.

The Building Trades’ entire mission is to balance big capital and labor! In seeking to collaborate since the early 70’s, and with appeasements/concessions of every type with Value on Display and a total abandonment of representing workers – union or not – we find ourselves on the brink!

Leaders sold out to management to get what jobs management wants to give them & a check! We find ourselves beholding to politicians because the leadership has forfeited maintaining political power by increasing markets and R&F.

Read your history IPs. As early as 1619 in Jamestown – the skilled crafts stood tall with owners. Far before the Revolutionary War! Almost ALL social justice actions had their roots planted by the AFL between the 1600’s thro to the late 60’s! The CIO was formed within the AFL and expelled in the 30’s, to then merge again in 1955. Every type of social justice action, to a large extent, has had its start because of the AFL and that leadership and membership! We stand on shoulders of giants, and since the early 70’s have pissed away progress with our so-called leaders and hacks. Women’s Activism ( United Tailoresses of New York organized in New York City in 1825) (Lowell Female Labor Reform Association formed in 1844), Child Labor Laws, 8 Hour Day (May 1st – 1886), Civil Rights of workers both on and off the job ( Colored National Labor Union founded in 1869) – hell the list is almost endless!

The only way to increase the power of workers is for labor leaders to go toe to toe with capital by impacting companies’ bottom lines, their perception in the community, their credit and clients. STRUCTURE and a backbone to balance big capital have been totally missing since the early 70’s! The Trades will not force the non-union companies to sign a CBA as its core strategy to Organize. They will not put anti-union businesses out of the market, especially those that enslave workers! That is why we have unions. Our Founders never flinched in this role, and that of providing the necessary balance between labor and capital!

The biggest block to taking the company, regardless if they want to sign a CBA or not, is our own Internationals and most of their subordinates.

Labor Rising knows this because we have had 91 Organizers build out markets. They had to do this themselves. Because only they know the nuances of their market. A consultant or vendor can’t do it – the local/DC/International must. Only a handful of the 91 remain, almost entirely because when they did their homework, they saw specifically the interconnected relationships that had to be addressed and overcome! This upset many in intermediate/high places in both labor and management.

So, these Organizers and Agents were throttled, forced to resign, given zero support, quit and some were promoted!

What separates losing and winning are our IPs’ almost unilateral collaboration with those who want us gone. I find it interesting when trades host entities such as the Construction Users Roundtable. They clearly don’t know or care about the history and continuing collapsing markets. And yet the IPs continue to collaborate?

A link to a White Paper from former IP of the Operating Engineers, JC Turner, regarding the anti-union: https://1drv.ms/w/s!AmKOi71GyLcgqyK4It5U8aRX-AAu

The Internationals will not let Labor Rising’s tactics take hold because they are far removed from the Rank & File, beholding to managements’ dictates and big 6-figure checks. And we will win in the field with a pittance of the money spent these past few decades!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

Work to the Rule for R&F – and – Follow the Money IP’s & Management –

Many great hands that understand this – think of Work to the Rule in Collective Bargaining terms. They are smart to do so. Under Collective Bargaining, much of it, would NOT be “PROTECTED ACTIVITY” under more traditional work to the rule campaigns. Google this term. An education of the Rank & File is underway and foundational to changing our trades back into a MOVEMENT!

DO NOT try to enforce the CBA and/or grievances terms and procedures under a “WORK TO THE RULE” campaigns until we have much better understanding of these terms and the tactics needed to win because the R&F have no one covering their back!

So, let’s follow the money and understand what work to the rule in this blog means. Right now, and for the last 5 plus decades our Senior International leadership has managed to lose Labor/Management cases/deals/negotiations most of the time. Even when locals/DC’s have given the International a winning hand. Take the Book of Decisions for example –  management has won almost the entirety of all decisions for decades. We place that number at approx. 85%. And the complete lack of ability of senior leaders to win – emerges! Well then who benefited from those decisions – follow the money! This pattern of sell out/moneyed interests/politics/sheer ineptness repeats itself in the governance of organizing, pensions, H&W, bargaining and grievances. In upcoming blogs, you the reader will decide how extensive and long tenured senior leaderships “good ole boys” are!

So – now on the SAFETY! Work to the Rule is a misnomer by and large in this case. We need to be SMART and not cross thread our “other” issues with any and everyone. For example, safety concerns on a jobsite has nothing to do with pay, benefits, conditions, hiring, firing, the hall, the agents, etc.

Everyone reading this blog has signed off many times regarding SAFETY on the job NOW being OUR responsibilities. These are managements documents, supported by senior trades leadership! Management enforces safety to the letter when anyone of us are inured. So, why wouldn’t we?

As you Google OCIP and CCIP, you will be schooled on the sheer amount of profits these sponsoring management entities are raking in; with senior trades leaderships either tacit and/or explicit collaboration!

Think of classifications of workers. The trades have bent over backwards to create new and lower paying classifications. Workers comp in most states is based on payroll and classification in the Workers Comp code. Who has the prime mover of this reclassification been? Management can demand both of these ongoing concessions from the trades because of the sheer — fill in the blank here regarding senior trades leadership. And since the bigger jobs are almost always wrapped in either a OCIP or CCIP can now reap profits that in some cases exceed construction profits.

Senior leadership and many underinformed downstream leaders have used the term – being competitive. And yet, every number, in every environment, has shown that strategy to be an abject loser. Rank & File lose and management and 6 figure trades leadership benefits. Our Founders NEVER acknowledged – being competitive. It is the rabbit hole of weak organizations and leaders; and IS the race to the bottom!

Senior trades leadership uses the warm and fuzzy of safety while all the while knowing that management is transferring site safety to individual members.

So, Brother and Sister – consider strongly how much longer you individually let this happen, given the documents you have signed!

On the job – great hands do all sorts of activities to get the job done. Those activities are thought to be professional. And yet in court room after court room workers are losing when injured.

Many R&F wait until the site safety people are not around and or station a watch. Many feel we are being questioned as professionals. It is demeaning to many hands, that most site safety people haven’t a clue what safety is. And yet, we lose in the court room and we and our families go broke in the process.

Here is how I would describe the site safety rules. All of us are familiar with Blueprints. Question, are you covered by following the prints – and BTW to the letter, or not? We all know the answer to that. We also know that when the prints are out of step with reality, to get management to sign off on it before proceeding.

So, when it comes to safety on the jobsite – do exactly what you/we signed off on, and are responsible for.

Get the management teams that are quite often in conflict with each other, to get on the same page – or wait until they are. Get the site safety people to tell you specifically what is needed, and how specifically it should be done. Get real time notes and signatures on job site safety analysis, and have the safety team watch us in our tasks. Don’t need to be friends – just responsible for their jobs, which is safety!!

Now they are directly linked to the responsibly of that job – should an accident occur.

This should be ORGANIC in nature – by the R&F hands on any given job. Which means every hand from Western Canada to the Gulf Coast should dig out all that paperwork you have signed and revisit it. And ALL conflicts both seen and unforeseen on the site should be addressed in a written policy and/or waiver before we do our work.

Also, it has been my experience in several situations that safety and management people conveniently disappear when production and deadlines are looming and hard dollars are at issue.

That is not a time to step up and be a professional and your family hangs in the balance should an accident occur. This is the time to engage management and safety to the fullest degree on what specifically needs to be done and sign off on it!

My gang had a coal chute drop on the floor at a refinery one time. And every safety precaution including some H2S protocols all gone! The refinery needed that chute back up now! We walked!

So, for decades the erosion of wages and classifications has been underway with our very own senior leadership in full knowledge of what was going down. All for hours!

Any time any of them want to compare notes/facts/hard numbers – let us know. Labor Combat produced a 474-page manuscript of research from 2007 till our inception in May of 2012. It is the Foundation for the Labor Combat, Labor Rising and Black Ops programs.

Those that did the work, though we knew a lot of the inner workings of the Internationals back then in 2012. Well after teaching in the field for 5 years and interacting first hand with hundreds of tradespersons, agents, organizers, etc., have found out just how extensive the good ole boys and that culture/network is!

 “if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Combat/Labor Rising

Work to the Rule –

This is for those members and agents feed up with being dismissed in most if not all decisions regarding their very own futures, and that of their families and union!

As such, this is not for the politicians in the R&F. It is for sober tradespersons to pursue and enforce on the job. It is not for piss-ant journeypersons with an axe to grind at a personal level with someone in leadership, be it union and/or management. Journeypersons who otherwise don’t like each other need to set aside those differences for a time to reestablish a lost MOVEMENT! This is for jobs where the membership has been sold out in every way. Dictated to by the International as to what wages, benefits and conditions will be.

Create a workers Safety Committee on the site and educate on the exact rules. DON’T NEGOIATE! Don’t fall for the seat at the table BS. What is it you want BS from management. All setups. Then it is a job action! It is coercion and possibly more!! Shut the F*@* up and simply enforce managements specific terms for safety until they change. Have the same response management has – Zero accidents are what we are all about! Control the safety of the job per managements own legal documents.

Work to the Rule is but one strategy for the R&F to inject themselves into the job site conditions. More to come in upcoming blogs.

You may want to Google what a “work to the rule “campaign is? There are various forms. This is strictly safety – at this time – until we have a level of education to do more!

Work to the rule campaign has a new meaning in this era of construction.

Management and its consultants are using Zero Accidents to either make money and/or minimize any settlements with injured workers. It is the dark side of the noble pursuit of safety. Kind of like when we see legislation that sounds noble and then you read it – it isn’t!

When we at Labor Rising say work to the rule, we mean it literally. Do your jobs on the jobsite exactly as the management has committed you to doing them. Do those jobs to the letter of the safety rules and NOT to the “sprite” that great journeypersons have historically done.

For the last decade “YOU” have increasingly been held to a standard of safety few are aware of. During orientation and the on-going required safety classes and meetings – YOU are being held responsible for the actions leading up to an incident – YOU! Not management – you. READ – those damn papers/binding contracts that you signed, that were shoved in front of you in endless amounts of meetings/classes. In many states and construction sites – if YOU can be shown to be responsible for 51% or more of the incident/accident – you and your injuries, along with earnings are in flat out jeopardy. This is an over simplification of the legal documents now been stored and used against you, and to some extent union contractors.

That is why journeypersons to this day comment – what’s with all the safety people? The job could make more money if all these people and inconsistent practices where not on the job – and in many cases paralyzing decisions journeypersons then make – IN GOOD FAITH – and then are responsible for if an incident occurs.

However, the top issue is money – what a surprise! Everyone always talks about the warm and fussy of protecting the workers, morale and productivity on the job and beyond.

But it comes down to money and even more specifically who gets the saving on one side, and pockets the profit on the other side. Well the answer to this are the Sponsors, Owners & Contractors for Large Construction Projects typically 75 million and larger.

Construction Wraps, come in different forms and serve different entities, a Wrap-Up is more formally known as an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) when sponsored by the project owner, it can be a Rolling Owner Controlled Insurance Program (ROCIP) when the owner covers multiple projects under one program. Or it can be a Contractor Controlled Insurance Program (CCIP) when the General Contractor or Construction Manager sponsors the program”. Google OCIP and CCIP and read away.

Since the inception of Wrap Ups, which parallels Zero Accidents BTW, an increasingly strong correlation can be made of Construction Managers beating up on workers, union or not and union contractors regarding insurance. Because that is where the biggest spreads/profits are!

So, workers – both union or not are increasingly held accountable directly for accidents. Less drain on profits for management doing what they do best – shift responsibility and screw the workers!

Subs and contractors are now being hit with “incident” penalties – which are mostly hard dollar penalties to the sub when a worker gets injured. Management makes money off garden variety injuries with a minimum of effort on their part, perhaps a nurse – MAYBE – on the site!

Subs and contractors get a “CREDIT” on insurance – while the owner of the OCIP/CCIP pockets big hard dollars on insurance.

How much – how about profit/savings that may be more than what is made on the construction itself.

So, my Brothers and Sisters – work to the rule. It trumps everything. What is everything. Can’t be fired! In the real world, maybe – but then you must fire the entire jobsite workforce. Also, many lawyers will take this case.

Can’t be written up – only given rewards like a drill at the safety meeting for DOING YOUR JOB as you signed on to do it.

How about the BS – IO’s, BM, Agents, company stewards, Building Trades execs that gave the job away for hours in return for massive concessions – all on the members backs –  can’t do a thing. Management can’t do a thing – it’s their rules!

So, think. For example, let’s say you are using a JLG. Then use it precisely as the rules state. If ground is uneven, what are the rules? For inspection, how often, condition of the equipment, etc. Get a written variance, not a verbal one. That’s most likely covered in the RULES too! What do the rules state regarding if sparks, open flame, etc. interact with a safety harness? Most are to be replaced immediately? Apply the RULES to the entire job as it pertains to our crafts. Literally!

I look forward to the comments sure to come from those with 6 figure checks – unions will lose the jobs. We can’t lose many more and be a trade. With all the new IP’s in the trades – two things have remained consistent. First, Value on Display is the strategy of the day – STILL! Second, good old boys culture is only concerned with managements needs and will do whatever is necessary to appease them! We are an increasingly low wage temp agency.

So, for those reform minded R&F and the handful of BM’s with any guts – work to the rule is a big-time play.

For my few Organizers left in the trades – Work to the Rule campaigns need to be taught to the non-union workers and that interaction is at the heart of what a MOVEMENT – not a business should be all about.

Time to shift gears and workers reasserting themselves at work and in their unions, or continue complaining about the crumbs and how badass we are!

A door swings both ways!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Combat/Labor Rising

The Business Roundtable and American Labor –

The Business Roundtable

 

and

 

American Labor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By

J.C. Turner, General President

International Union of

Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO

 

May 1979

 

 

 

Today I would like to try to do some plain talking about what’s happening to labor unions in this country.  And particularly I want to look at what is happening to construction unions and our members.

The building trades unions are experiencing a multi-faceted attack which is coming from at least four directions:  first, we are seeing the erosion of local bargaining patterns and practices which have existed and worked well for years; second, we are seeing a wedge being driven between union contractors and the building trades unions by the burgeoning open shop movement; third, we are seeing business financing for court cases which are stripping construction workers of their traditional legal protections; and finally, we are seeing in 1979 a massive assault on the wage protective statutes including the Davis-Bacon Act and the state “little” Davis-Bacon acts which for fifty years have protected construction workers from wage busting by unscrupulous contractors.

Where is this attack coming from?  In my view, it is no coincidence or accident that we are under assault from every side.  Rather it has become apparent to me from the events of 1979 that a systematic and well planned campaign is being conducted to totally destroy the building trades.  Following extensive research and analysis of the groups which are orchestrating this assault, I have concluded that the current attack is the result of a decade of planning and groundwork by the Business Roundtable acting in concert with regional and local construction user associations, the contractor associations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, pro-business acad xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx could not read the last part of this sentence.

Let me start by reviewing a little history.

In the late 60’s business in this country was booming.  Profits were rising and that meant physical plants were expanding.  Millions of union members made this boom possible and that means strength at the bargaining table.  In short, it meant that our families received their fair share of the business prosperity of the 60’s.  So the experience of the 60’s demonstrated a principle which has operated consistently over the history of labor-management pulled in our belts together; in good times, we have shared the wealth.

In 1979, like the late 60’s, we are in the midst of another economic expansion yet there is no sharing of the wealth this time.  Indeed, the corporate before-tax profits for 1978 were the highest since 1950, and in 1978 alone, corporate profits rose by 26.4 percent.  But where is the American worker, particular the construction worker, in the midst of these record profits?  I will tell you.  We are experiencing massive unemployment in the construction industry with some crafts in certain areas of the northeast suffering a ninety percent unemployment rate.  Those construction workers lucky enough to have a job are being forced to give up wage increases instead of receiving their fair share of these rising corporate profits.  We see non-union contractors underbidding union wages by two, three, four and more dollars.  Ten years ago the hiring hall was respected.  Today a huge non-union workforce is being created and there is no stability in labor relations.  Ten years ago we worked closely with most contractors.  Today we see a new breed of double-breasted contractors.  They try to take away all our traditional rights at the bargaining table and then go out and underbid themselves with the non-union company.

We see a series of court decisions limiting our right to picket, and giving union contractors the right to set up non-union companies and the right to repudiate their collective bargaining agreements.

We see Davis-Bacon and know what repeal of that statute would mean to millions of construction workers and their families.  We see that ten years ago we were able to negotiate long term agreements for our people.  Today, employers threaten to ignore the contracts they have signed covering individual projects if we don’t give them what they want.

Today, we see the skyrocketing expansion of the open shop contractors who are undermining long established bargaining practices and are acting as a wedge to take away rights we won years ago.  We see it in both local and national negotiations where management rights clauses deprive us of control over work practices, over hiring halls, over overtime and all types of hard-won working conditions.  And all the time non-union contractors continue to undercut union wages.

In my view, all of the changes we have seen occurring have been consciously planned for and then carried out by the Business Roundtable, which is an organization of the largest industrial construction users in this country, which came into existence, not surprisingly, ten years ago.  At first, you might have believed that the attack upon the building trades is coming from the contractors themselves, especially the non-union contractors.  But it appears to me that this is not the case.  Our real enemy is clearly these large industrial concerns, organized as the Business Roundtable who are using the contractors and their associations as soldiers in the battle.  The reason for this is simple:  the cost of construction is ultimately passed onto the construction users by the contractors.  The economic expansion of the 60’s also brought with it inflation and rapidly increasing construction costs.  In order to put a lid on these costs, the construction users determine that they would band together in what they then called the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable.  Not only were the large industrial users suffering from the direct effect of higher construction costs but they also greatly feared the “ripple” effect which high construction wage settlements were having on the wage settlements which their own industrial workers would seek.  So they wanted to cut construction wages to cap both their direct construction costs and to prevent the upward push on industrial wages from high construction wages.  Their purpose was to put the lid on costs by pressuring their construction contractors to slash wages.  I will lay out all of the ways in which the Roundtable determined that it could gain control over labor-relations in the construction industry, but let me first set forth a little of the history of this very important corporate organization, known then as the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, now known simple as the Business Roundtable.

In the late 60’s, the big corporations decided to go after what I call the back-bone industries like construction.  The reasoned that the labor relations policy of these industries could be controlled by centralizing the economic clout of the prime industrial consumers of construction.  They intended to gradually establish non-union contractors to undercut the economic position of unionized employers and through the strategic use of their purchase orders, the large consumers would insure their control over the contractors, both union and non-union.

And let me point out one more economic phenomenon that we occurring in the 60’s, because it is crucial to understanding the origins of the Business Roundtable.  The steel industry, more than any other industrial concern, wanted to weaken the construction unions back in the 60’s.  U.S. Steel and other large steel manufacturers knew that putting in new technology meant a giant construction bill.  So in 1967, the President of U.S. Steel observed that:

Steel companies are in desperate need of modern facilities to compete with lower priced imports but can’t afford to build them if the costs of construction becomes so high that it defeats the advantages of new facilities.

 

There is another reason for steel’s interest in our industry.  It is the producer of the single most costly building material.  The higher wage of our members, reasoned U.S. Steel and its Chairman, Roger Blough, the few construction projects there would be, thus cutting into new orders of steel.

So, what happened?  The original Roundtable was organized in 1969 and, as I have said, was then called the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable.  The driving force behind the creation of this group of construction users was, not surprisingly, Roger Blough, the retired chairman of U.S. Steel.  It was Blough’s intention to forge an alliance of the chief executive officers of about 100 of the nation’s top corporations which were also the largest corporate spenders on construction.  The goal was simple:  reorganize and centralize the construction industry.  The seeds of the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable are to be found in an earlier group, founded in 1965, called the Labor Law Study Group.  This small group of executives started promoting the idea that labor was too powerful and that if the business community stuck together it could chip away at that strength.  Its members included labor relations executives and attorneys from G.E., ASARCO, R.H. Macy, Ford, G.M., just to name a few.

The Study Group decided to examine all of the legal aspects of union strength and so they created task forces to look at labor relations problems in specific areas.  There were at least five areas of major concern to this group:  (1) strikes in vital industries and services; (2) so-called restrictive work practices; (3) resistance to automation and prefabrication; (4) hiring halls and (5) wage standards legislation.

The group also set out to quietly make new friends on the Hill and the Washington Post observed of the efforts of the Labor Law Reform Study Group:

To combat [union strength] in this area, their behind-the-scenes work has led them into many fields.  They have been instrumental in introducing 24 “labor law reform bills” now pending before Congress.  They have met privately with Senators and Congressmen, cabinet officers and key White House officials.

 

While the group focused some of their energies in Washington they saw themselves as “organizers,” not lobbyists.  So they set out to organize the diverse elements of the business community around common anti-labor strategy.  Because of the total secrecy which surrounded these early meetings, no one may ever know exactly what took place between 1965 and 1968, but it is clear that a group of large industrial construction clients were organized by key corporate leaders including Roger Blough of U.S. Steel.  Ten principal members of the Labor Law Study Group, including A.T.&T., Union Carbide, Exxon, General Motors, ALCOA, U.S. Steel, General Electric, General Dynamics, International Harvester and B. F. Goodrich were determined that they would bring about the reorganization of labor-management relations in construction.

So between 1965 and 1968 Blough and a few other top industry leaders spoke privately with various contractor groups.  Together they concluded that the problem in construction was competition between various contractor groups over a limited and highly skilled labor market.  Their solution was simple:  eliminate competition between contractors and introduce competition among workers by promoting the open shop.

On September 25, 1968, a top officer of U.S. Steel became Chairman of a National Association of Manufacturers’ group to study the construction industry.  The proposed topics of investigation were restrictive work practices, hiring halls, wage settlements and unity in the industry.  Needless to say, NAM’s members included most of the large industrial firms I’ve mentioned and with this move, they publicly declared their intentions to intervene in the construction industry.

On October 17, 1968, two hundred industrial owners and contractors converged on Houston.  They came to attend a conference sponsored by the Employer’s Council of the Gulf Coast Area of Texas whose motto was “Stabilize Labor Management in Construction.”  The Texas group seems to have been a local pilot project for the Roundtable.  Here is how one reporter described how local users and local contractors would attempt to slash construction wages using the Employer’s Council of the Gulf Coast Area as the vehicle:

. . . [P]roject owners are given a participatory role in the Houston area through membership, as “owner-subscribers”, in the Employer’s Council, which includes all of the major contractor associations.  As bargaining approaches, the owner-subscribers meet with the contractor negotiators to discuss the situation, and as bargaining proceeds the owner-clients receive progress reports and the contractors in turn learn how the owners feel about certain issues and how much client’s support they may receive in event a strike comes.

 

At the Houston Conference, the local users and contractors heard the new plan for restructuring the construction industry.  They were told of the national owners’ intention to unite the industry and they were told what role they would have to play.  Local contractors were urged to form regional bargaining units and the users were urged to form Local User Roundtables.  The role of the financial community was also discussed.  Our speaker said:

I call upon you [the national’s insurance companies] to stipulate with their loans that contractors and owners seeking these funds be not allowed to use them in their contractual relationships with contractors in any way detrimental to the collective bargaining procedure of the construction industry . . . I call upon the banks of the United States to follow a similar course in the use and application of money . . . It is as simple as the bankers right to grant or reject a loan based on no other reason than that he doesn’t like which side of your head you parted your hair.

 

On November 20, 1968, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce itself called a two-day conference on construction and every element of the industry represented.  One speaker called for the repeal of Davis-Bacon and urged a “massive” effort to reform the labor laws particularly calling Davis-Bacon an inflationary anachronism.  Another speaker, representing Ebasco, called on the group to undercut the union labor market by creating a national hall, “non-union if necessary.”  He suggested that this workforce be “computerized, inventoried, recruited, trained, referred and managed by professionals as a personnel office for industrial contractors” and advised that this new “work force” be given new job classifications and a new national labor agreement, negotiated and tailored to the needs of industrial constructors.

Shortly thereafter, NAM issued its report called “Chaos in Construction.”  It called for (1) restructuring inter-industry relations, (2) eliminating scheduled overtime, (3) repeal of Davis-Bacon, and (4) the restoration of management rights at the workplace.

Almost simultaneously, the Chamber of Commerce released its study approving an identical program and recommending two national councils, one of owners and once of contractors, be created.

Two weeks later two full-grown business organizations emerged from these seeds.  The first was called the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, and was headed by Roger Blough.  The membership list was strikingly similar to both the Labor Law Reform Study Group and the Gulf Coast Employers’ Council including G.M., G.E., Dow Chemical, U.S. Steel, Union Carbide, Exxon, and ALCOA.  By now there were more than one hundred construction owners involved in the group.

Eleven national contractors, including Atkinson, Bechtel, Dravo, Fluor, Morrison-Knudsen, and Austin became the “contractor advisory group” to the Construction Users Anti-Inflation League.

The second group which sprang up was an association of local contractors centered around Ohio and drawn from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Kentucky who announced that they had formed a regional bargaining association of two hundred contractors.

A large contractor from Pittsburgh headed up the group and said that he had received pledges of support and financial contributions from other contractors.  In turn, U.S. Steel, A.T.&T., Shell, and Westinghouse became “associate” members of this regional contractors group.

In 1972, the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable officially closed ranks with its friends in the Labor Law Reform Study Group.  In 1973, these two groups merged with the March Group, an alliance of chief executive offers who thought business’s image needed improving.  Together they formed what is now known as Business Roundtable, with one subcommittee concentrating on construction and another subcommittee focusing on labor law.  But most importantly, by 1978, this new federation boasted of almost two hundred corporate members and let me tell you there’s only one membership qualification:  you’ve got to be big.

In fact, a professor up at Rutgers University, Dr. Phillip Burch, has just completed a report on the Roundtable membership. He found that Roundtable members were almost all members of the Fortune 500 and that almost all of them are drawn from the top ranks of this elite group.  IN fact, the total sales of Business Roundtable members last year was over ¾ of a trillion dollars.  That’s more than the total GNP of every man, woman and child in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Burch came up with another interesting discovery.  Ninety-one percent of Roundtable members are drawn from heavy industrials and utilities.  He also established that there are overwhelming ties between the governing body of the Roundtable and the large financial institutions of this country with nearly 70 percent of the Roundtable’s governing board tied to these institutions.

And how is the Roundtable governed?  Burch established that the Roundtable as a whole meets only once a year.  Its governing power rests in the Policy Committee which meets every two weeks and believe me you don’t see any small businessmen on that committee.  In fact, only the chief executive officer of a company can be represented on the Policy Committee.

The Policy Committee members include A.T.&T., ALCOA, Chrysler, du Pont, G.E., Union Carbide, U.S. Steel, Sears and Roebuck, Exxon, Goodyear, Hewlett-Packard, Continental Corporation, B.F. Goodrich, Bethlehem Steel, National Steel, Milliken and Company, Kennecott Copper, and IBM – to name a prominent few.

Since 1975, the Roundtable has started 17 national task forces on virtually every aspect of the American economy including those dealing with anti-trust, energy, the environment, foreign investment, international trade, government regulation, taxation, wage price controls, labor legislation, and corporate organization.  The Roundtable also has a standing Economic Research Committee of top flight economists.  This committee commissioned the widely publicized study produce by the Wharton School on why Davis-Bacon should be repealed.  It has also placed several articles about economics and inflation in the Reader’s Digest, a magazine that goes into homes of one out of every four American families.

Finally, the Roundtable has a Government Relations Committee which maintains close ties with every major government official through the chief executive officers.  It’s been involved in fighting every major piece of labor and progressive legislation in the last ten years including Equal Treatment for Construction Workers, Consumer Protection, and Labor Law Reform.  They are now leading the fight for the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.

I would now like to turn away from the history and structure of the Business Roundtable and focus on the present.  When I began this speech, I mentioned to you the four strategic areas where the Roundtable is focusing its enormous economic resources to literally attempt the total annihilation of the organized construction industry.  These four areas are (1) the sabotage of established local bargaining patterns through intervention in the collective bargaining processes by the local construction user groups, (2) the establishment of the open shop sector and in particular, the ABC, to use it as a wedge between the building trade and union contractors, (3) the funding and support of litigation aimed at destroying the legal protections afforded construction workers, and (4) the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.  Let me now turn to a closer examination of each of these areas.

First, what has been the role of the national and local user groups in local bargaining?  They have brought extensive pressure to bear on local contractors to form local or regional bargaining units.  This was a necessary concession in particular to the specialty contractors who had been seeking the strength of numbers of years.  Regional or area multi-craft bargaining was the only answer.

Also, the large industrial users were to be admitted to membership in these regional groups as “associate” members. Here they would direct or “coordinate”, as the Roundtable puts it, the labor relations policy of the local user groups as well as the local contractors.  In effect, the individual local contractor chapters traded control over their long-range policy for a stronger hand at the bargaining table.

Moreover, the National Roundtable through the local user groups worked hard to enhance the position of local and regional contractors at the bargaining table by introducing to them contract clauses drafted at Roundtable Headquarters.  In 1974 the Roundtable published the first in a series of pamphlets called Coming to Grips with Some Major Problems in the Construction Industry which contained sample contract clauses to be used to eliminate scheduled overtime for example.

As to hiring halls, contractors were told that the union hiring hall gives unions too much power over the personnel function and, therefore, recommended creation of management operated data banks or referral systems, possibly with the help of federal funds, to establish a national hiring hall.

Indeed, through the two volumes of Coming to Grips with Some Major Problems in the Construction Industry, the Roundtable provided local contractors with advice and contract clauses in the areas of scheduled overtime, hiring halls, jurisdictional disputes, restoration of the management role, wage settlements, restrictive work practices, prefabrication and strikes.  Just to give one example of how the relationship between users and contractors work – The National Roundtable was active in designing bid specifications to be utilized by the construction users which would require greater use of prefabrication.  In turn, the National Roundtable and the local users pressured the contractors and their bargaining associations to push for collective bargaining language during negotiations favorable to greater use of prefabricated materials.  Needless to say, the contractors were provided with the appropriate contract clauses on prefabrication by the Roundtable.  And the Roundtable went down the line in all of the areas I just enumerated to cajole, pressurize and indeed coerce contractors to tow the Roundtable line during bargaining – a line which has led to the steady erosion of many bargaining patterns and practices which we had long fought for and naively believed to be sacrosanct.  And the enforcement mechanism used by the Roundtable was the threat of its enormous purchasing power which it held continually, though usually silently, over the heads of the contractors.

The Roundtable has established a presence in collective bargaining in every major municipality in America.  Go to St. Louis, Detroit, Los Angeles, or anywhere eels you like and the major industrial clients have formed a local user’s group.  For example, in 1976 there was an Illinois-based group called the Illowa Construction Users Council.  Their membership included ALCOA, J.I. Case, Caterpillar Tractor, Commonwealth Edison, Deer & Co., DuPont, Interstate Power, Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric, Monsanto and Ralston-Purina.  The Council has a policy committee and it speaks as a single voice for users in the area.  And one of the prime groups it speaks to are the local contractors.  The contractors themselves form an advisory committee as part of the local Roundtable which is an action oriented coordinating committee which oversees a group of local task forces.  The task forces include those on work practices, legislation, research and statistics, project agreements, labor relations, manpower, overtime, industry funds and public relations,.

But I should make it clear that the National Roundtable leaves nothing to chance with these local groups.  They have commissioned in-depth studies on all construction industry problems and they’ve given local groups a very clear message about how and when different parts of the industry are going to change.  And let me assure you we have only started to see the results of these studies.  The Director of the Roundtable’s Construction Committee tours the country talking to local groups instructing them on how to adhere to the latest phase of the Roundtable’s program.  So this is precisely where the erosion of many of our local bargaining practices and patterns has been coming from.

Now let me turn to the second area where the Roundtable has concentrated its enormous economic clout – it is the support, and its sometime even the creation, of the open shop sector.  Why?  The answer is simple.  Faced with the growth of the open shop industry, union contractors and the building trades have been figuratively if not literally blackmailed into lower wage settlements and the giving up of many protections which have long appeared in our collective bargaining agreements.

What has been the role of the Roundtable in the open shop sector?  In the mid-60’s the ABC was still a local trade association operating around Baltimore, and Brown and Root was the largest non-union national contractor.  The Roundtable realized that the growth of these two groups would seriously hurt organized labor and so through its members, it began funneling to Brown and Root and the ABC contractors more business.  The Roundtable even urged Brown and Root to join the ABC giving it an enormous credibility boost and financial shot in the arm.

I say to you that the Business Roundtable has been the prime force in the open shop construction movement in this country.  But don’t take my word for it.  Listen to the words of an AGC attorney at its first conference on open shop construction:

Then there was the Roger Blough Construction Roundtable.  It was established for the purpose of doing away with these inflationary pressures . . . The Roger Blough Roundtables today are talking about open shop construction.  They are talking open shop construction to the biggest owners and users of construction in the United States today . . .

 

But why was the AGC sponsoring an open shop conference?  Because the Business Roundtable urged it to do so and made the AGC realize that non-union contractors would not suddenly fall from the sky.  And again at the urging of the Roundtable, the AGC lawyers were sent across the country showing AGC contractors how to go double-breasted.

FRIENDS, THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT THE LARGE INDUSTRIAL CONCERNS THROUGH THEIR CONTROL OVER NEW CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS SPAWNED THE OPEN SHOP MOVEMENT AND MADE THE ABC INTO THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION IT IS TODAY.

Recent examples of the manner in which Roundtable members are using their purchasing power to steer business to the open shop sector can be found in Maine and Ohio.  In Ohio, Dayton Power and Light has awarded a major power plant contract to Daniels over Ebasco and many of you might have noticed that Boise Cascade also recently awarded a major contract to Daniels in Maine.  Now these are two unusual events in our industry, but I think they are of great interest considering that Boise Cascade and Dayton Power and Light have been members in good standing of the Business Roundtable for several years and this is typical of the way the Roundtable has fostered non-union construction.

The third area where the Roundtable has hit us very hard is in the courts.  The Roundtable has a litigation committee of top lawyers and those lawyers have made themselves part of every piece of major construction and labor litigation in the last t years including Boys Market, Burns, Scott Hudgens, South Prairie, Higdon and Connell.  The Roundtable’s support of these cases has been indirectly, and directly in the form of Roundtable financial support for the litigation.  The Business Roundtable is, in fact, quite proud of its litigation efforts.  In petitioning for tax-exempt status in 1972, the Business Roundtable cited its litigation efforts as one of its primary projects and listed over forty cases in which it had been involved.  Included in this listing were the Boys Market case, in which the Supreme Court reversed prior law and held that labor unions could be enjoined from strikes which were in violation of no-strike clauses; the Burns case in which the Supreme Court held that a successor employer is no obligated to abide by his predecessor’s labor union contract; and Scott Hudgens, in which the Supreme Court overruled prior law and held that labor unions did not have a First Amendment right to picket an employer in a private shopping mall.

Coordinated litigation efforts by large employer groups including the Business Roundtable have resulted in legal decisions specifically undermining the rights of construction workers.  In the South Prairie case, the Supreme Court held that it was permissible for a union contractor to go double-breasted under certain conditions.

In the Higdon case, the Supreme Court held that although prehire agreements were lawful in the construction industry, the employer was at liberty to repudiate them at any moment.

Finally, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Coopell case also probably familiar to many of you.  There, the Supreme Court held that a specialty craft union could not lawfully sign a subcontracting clause with a general contractor which did not employ members of its craft.  The Supreme Court’s reasoning was that such clauses were unlawful where the parties did not have, or intend to create, a collective bargaining relationship – one where the employer employed members of the particular craft seeking the subcontracting clause.  Traditionally, of course, subcontracting clauses between unions and contractors employing their members have been the fundamental mechanism for preserving craft work.  The National Labor Relations Board has upheld the continuing validity of our normal subcontracting agreements but cases are, however, now before the appellate courts where the Business Roundtable’s attempt to destroy unionism in the construction industry continues in full force.

Last but not least, I want to tell you how the Business Roundtable has over the last decade systematically set out to strike at our very heart – in the area of wage protections.  The record that I have set forth earlier shows that at the very first meeting of the Business Roundtable, even back in the days when it was known as the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, its large corporate members called for the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.  Davis Bacon was pinpointed early on as a source of increased wage costs in construction which in turn created a ripple into the private nonconstruction wage structure of the construction users.  The Business Roundtable believed at its inception in 1969 that it could not eliminate Davis-Bacon until it had accomplished two goals.

First, would be the commissioning of academic studies not publicly associated with the Roundtable establishing the inflationary impact of Davis-Bacon and, second would be the influencing of public and political opinion through the media to believe that Davis-Bacon is a leading cause of inflation.  Once these two goals had been accomplished, the Roundtable intended to, and did, go after Davis-Bacon administratively and legislatively.  The following is a sketch of the Roundtable’s ten year campaign which is culminating in the anti-Davis-Bacon attacks occurring in 1979:

The Business Roundtable’s 1972 application for tax exempt status reveals it had commissioned several academic studies through the Economic Research Committee, one of which was on the economic affects of the Davis-Bacon Act.

  1. In January 1975, the Business Roundtable-sponsored study of Davis-Bacon, authored by Dr. Armand Thieblot, was released by the Wharton School of Business. This study formed the basis of every subsequent journalistic and government call for repeal of Davis-Bacon and Thieblot testified on May 2, 1979, before the Senate Banking Committee in support of the GAO’s demand for Davis-Bacon repeal.
  2. In 1975, the Business Roundtable sponsored a series of articles in the Readers Digest calling for Davis-Bacon repeal. The Readers Digest series and the Thieblot study were disseminated to the media all over the country through the regional and local user councils and the contractor associations.
  3. In 1976, 1977, and 1978, the Business Roundtable in alliance with the contractor associations attempted, through the administrative processes, to take the authority to administer Davis-Bacon from the Secretary of Labor and give it to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Finally, in 1978, the Business Roundtable announced in Coming to Grips with Some Major Problems in the Construction Industry its strategy to end Davis-Bacon at both the state and national levels once and for all.  While calling ultimately for the repeal of Davis-Bacon, it recommended a number of legislative and administrative changes to chip away at the effectiveness of the Act.

The last thing I want to give you is an outline of the 1979 assault on the wage protective statutes and tell you that down to the last detail, the 1979 war on wages has been lifted right out of the Business Roundtable’s Coming to Grips pamphlet.  What are we facing in 1979?  Here is the list.

  1. Three bills are pending before the Congress to outright repeal Davis-Bacon (introduced by Hatch, Hagedorn and Erlenbor
  2. One bill is pending to eliminate Davis-Bacon protections in twelve related housing statutes (introduced by Tower).
  3. Tower has promised to systematically introduce legislation to eliminate the Davis-Bacon protections in all of the eighty related federal statutes, with his next target being in the area of federal assisted transportation.
  4. The “little” Davis-Bacon Act in Florida has been repealed.  Repeal measures or measures to seriously cripple the prevailing wage acts are pending in at least eleven other states.  The ABC is circulating a master plan to all state chapters, telling them how to repeal the state laws.
  5. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) is continuing to attempt to wrest authority for the administration of Davis-Bacon away from the Secretary of Labor.  A bill (§ 5) is pending in the Congress which would fortify the OFPP’s authority to do so.
  6. The GAO issued a report on April 27, 1979, which called for the repeal of Davis-Bacon and concluded that the entire concept of a prevailing wage statute is unsupportable and inflationary.
  7. An Inter-Agency Task Force composed of the OMB, OFPP, Defense, NASA and other large contracting agencies is reviewing the administration of all of the prevailing wage statutes including the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act.  It has recommended among other things, the elimination of the “30 percent rule,” raising the $2000 coverage threshold, and the transfer of reviewing authority over the prevailing wage statutes to the OMB.
  8. There is a widespread campaign in the media to paint the Davis-Bacon Act as an inflationary antique left over from the New Deal.  The Chicago Tribune and the New York Times have called for the repeal of Davis-Bacon.
  9. A number of allegedly “objective” academic studies have been released by universities, which are widely publicized and which purport to establish that Davis-Bacon is inflationary and should be repealed.

It is clear, therefore, that the Business Roundtable intends to bring its total resources to bear in a multi-faceted attack on Davis-Bacon and, indeed, upon all of the wage protective statutes, in 1979.  The combined assets of the Roundtable members, as I have told you, approaches ¾ of a trillion dollars and it seems fair to say that no greater concentration of economic power has ever been placed in the hands of one centralized group in this nation’s political history.  It is the ability of the Business Roundtable to bring this enormous power to bear upon the political and legislative processes, along with its ability to influence and control local users of construction as well as the contractors and contractor associations that now poses such an urgent threat to Davis-Bacon and the other prevailing wage statutes.

In closing, I would like to reiterate to you my profound concern that the Business Roundtable represents a threat not just to the building trades unions but to the trade union movement as a whole.  After all, history teaches us that the building trades founded the American labor movement and is still its foundation today.  If corporate America can undo the hard-won gains of this country’s constructions, I deeply fear that the ultimate target will be the entire trade union movement and the working men and women it has protected for so long.

May Day – International Workers’ Day –

For those who post/see the picture attached to this blog of what Labor has done should understand:

  • Labor and more specifically the Trades hasn’t advanced the interest of workers for decades.
  • That we have coasted on the shoulders of giants.
  • That bad ass shirts and stickers can’t do a damn thing to advance workers.
  • That the trades specifically prohibited any form of communist from membership in the trades in there early years. Go read your Constitution – it is right up front!
  • That communist to this day hate unions.
  • When I was the moderator for the re-dedication of the Haymarket Monument several years ago – Anarchist showed up to disrupt the re-dedication – they soon learned that unions would not tolerate that.
  • My apprentices for over a decade took care of the Haymarket Monument; and that of approx. 30 other labor leaders in the “outlaw” cemetery called Waldheim Jewish Cemetery in Forest Park.

That 50 plus years of Building Trades leadership has “sold out” the membership decades ago. Value on Display and those that advance it are NOT leaders – only minions to management and business.

That the spirit of the trades will be re-born and soon. So, read a very balanced piece by Brother Chase on the trials and raw guts of true Labor Leaders BUILDING a MOVEMENT. And on this day perhaps understand that to insure the future of the middle class takes far more than whining and hoping that political and business leaders GIVE us anything!

If we don’t fight for it – it is gone! Organized Labor’s entire mission is to balance Organized Capital. Without that fought for balance – Capitalism and even Socialism cannot work!

History clearly demonstrates that – not our comments!

The Brief Origins of May Day

By Eric Chase –

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others, there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Jack London’s The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860’s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880’s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

At this time, socialism was a new and attractive idea to working people, many of whom were drawn to its ideology of working class control over the production and distribution of all goods and services. Workers had seen first-hand that Capitalism benefited only their bosses, trading workers’ lives for profit. Thousands of men, women and children were dying needlessly every year in the workplace, with life expectancy as low as their early twenties in some industries, and little hope but death of rising out of their destitution. Socialism offered another option.

A variety of socialist organizations sprung up throughout the latter half of the 19th century, ranging from political parties to choir groups. In fact, many socialists were elected into governmental office by their constituency. But again, many of these socialists were ham-strung by the political process which was so evidently controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machine. Tens of thousands of socialist’s broke ranks from their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created anarchist groups throughout the country. Literally thousands of working people embraced the ideals of anarchism, which sought to put an end to all hierarchical structures (including government), emphasized worker controlled industry, and valued direct action over the bureaucratic political process. It is inaccurate to say that labor unions were “taken over” by anarchists and socialists, but rather anarchists and socialist made up the labor unions.

At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations. At first, most radicals and anarchists regarded this demand as too reformist, failing to strike “at the root of the evil.” A year before the Haymarket Massacre, Samuel Fielden pointed out in the anarchist newspaper, The Alarm, that “whether a man works eight hours a day or ten hours a day, he is still a slave.”

Despite the misgivings of many of the anarchists, an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight-hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor. As more and more of the workforce mobilized against the employers, these radicals conceded to fight for the 8-hour day, realizing that “the tide of opinion and determination of most wage-workers was set in this direction.” With the involvement of the anarchists, there seemed to be an infusion of greater issues than the 8-hour day. There grew a sense of a greater social revolution beyond the more immediate gains of shortened hours, but a drastic change in the economic structure of capitalism.

In a proclamation printed just before May 1, 1886, one publisher appealed to working people with this plea:

  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of dynamite is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.

Not surprisingly the entire city was prepared for mass bloodshed, reminiscent of the railroad strike a decade earlier when police and soldiers gunned down hundreds of striking workers. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye. With their fiery speeches and revolutionary ideology of direct action, anarchists and anarchism became respected and embraced by the working people and despised by the capitalists.

The names of many – Albert Parsons, Johann Most, August Spies and Louis Lingg – became household words in Chicago and throughout the country. Parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets exemplified the workers’ strength and unity, yet didn’t become violent as the newspapers and authorities predicted.

More and more workers continued to walk off their jobs until the numbers swelled to nearly 100,000, yet peace prevailed. It was not until two days later, May 3, 1886, that violence broke out at the McCormick Reaper Works between police and strikers.

For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed. Most of these workers belonged to the “anarchist-dominated” Metal Workers’ Union. During a speech near the McCormick plant, some two hundred demonstrators joined the steelworkers on the picket line. Beatings with police clubs escalated into rock throwing by the strikers which the police responded to with gunfire. At least two strikers were killed and an unknown number were wounded.

Full of rage, a public meeting was called by some of the anarchists for the following day in Haymarket Square to discuss the police brutality. Due to bad weather and short notice, only about 3000 of the tens of thousands of people showed up from the day before. This affair included families with children and the mayor of Chicago himself. Later, the mayor would testify that the crowd remained calm and orderly and that speaker August Spies made “no suggestion… for immediate use of force or violence toward any person…”

As the speech wound down, two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting that a speaker was using inflammatory language, inciting the police to march on the speakers’ wagon. As the police began to disperse the already thinning crowd, a bomb was thrown into the police ranks. No one knows who threw the bomb, but speculations varied from blaming any one of the anarchists, to an agent provocateur working for the police.

Enraged, the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded was never determined, but an estimated seven or eight civilians died, and up to forty were wounded. One officer died immediately and another seven died in the following weeks. Later evidence indicated that only one of the police deaths could be attributed to the bomb and that all the other police fatalities had or could have had been due to their own indiscriminate gun fire. Aside from the bomb thrower, who was never identified, it was the police, not the anarchists, who perpetrated the violence.

Eight anarchists – Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg – were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred. The jury in their trial was comprised of business leaders in a gross mockery of justice similar to the Sacco-Vanzetti case thirty years later, or the trials of AIM and Black Panther members in the seventies. The entire world watched as these eight organizers were convicted, not for their actions, of which all of were innocent, but for their political and social beliefs. On November 11, 1887, after many failed appeals, Parsons, Spies, Engel and Fisher were hung to death. Louis Lingg, in his final protest of the state’s claim of authority and punishment, took his own life the night before with an explosive device in his mouth.

The remaining organizers, Fielden, Neebe and Schwab, were pardoned six years later by Governor Altgeld, who publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice. Immediately after the Haymarket Massacre, big business and government conducted what some say was the very first “Red Scare” in this country. Spun by mainstream media, anarchism became synonymous with bomb throwing and socialism became un-American. The common image of an anarchist became a bearded, eastern European immigrant with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in the other.

Today we see tens of thousands of activists embracing the ideals of the Haymarket Martyrs and those who established May Day as an International Workers’ Day. Ironically, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public’s memory by establishing “Law and Order Day” on May 1. We can draw many parallels between the events of 1886 and today. We still have locked out steelworkers struggling for justice. We still have voices of freedom behind bars as in the cases of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier. We still had the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the streets of a major city to proclaim, “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” at the WTO and FTAA demonstrations.

Words stronger than any I could write are engraved on the Haymarket Monument:

THE DAY WILL COME WHEN OUR SILENCE WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VOICES YOU ARE THROTTLING TODAY.

Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted – people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people cannot be forgotten or we’ll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

4 Reasons Mc Garvey & Trump are Made for Each Other –

  1. Both use workers to advance issues for themselves! Both exploit workers in the name of business! McGarvey – concessions and business friendly International and Building Trades Agreements on behalf of the BT’s; Trump – demonstrated history of not paying workers and contractors. Both fancy themselves as world class negotiators, just ask them! Both have a habit of saying everything is/will be great, especially the trades when there aren’t any numbers to support that statement.

 

  1. Both like to use Alternative Facts. McGarvey and the Board of IP’s insist Value on Display has been a winning strategy. EVERY number, in every economic situation, over the entire tenure of VOD, in context & NET, demonstrates in absolute numbers that it is a loser! Similarly, Trump can take demonstrable facts and hard numbers and create an alternative set of facts to fit the narrative.

 

  1. Both run meetings with a heavy hand! Trump will throw out dissenting voices from his events in a heartbeat and then relishes the removal. At least they were his events during the campaign, so he could! He will not be as fortunate to do so as President in public, except for real security reasons. McGarvey, et al, shut down peaceful alternative views during the Legislative Conference where Trump spoke – peaceful, almost entirely quiet signs of protest. In this case RESIST! Those who protested did so well within what has been acceptable standards. It wasn’t a security threat to the Prez, because the Secret Service let those with signs into the meeting. This wasn’t McGarvey’s party or even the IP’s event – case closed! Membership PAID for everything done at that event – everything! For all R&F on either side of the issue, should the leadership decide what can be said and/or protested at OUR OWN event? If so, then we all lose! This was a classic “good ole boys” move of intimidation! Those who don’t want to understand the freedoms at stake here are exactly the issue! No person of Labor, regardless of the side of the issue, should tolerate that. Better to leave with protestors you may not agree with than be complicit with a heavy-handed leader. Men & women died at every juncture of OUR history to protect free speech, especially at one’s own event. Those members who think they were compelled to stay at the event because it was a “business meeting” and/or they represented locals may want to ask themselves what side of history they want to be on: freedoms being trampled right in front of them, or complicit with excuses!                      NOTE to RESIST: you should know you are marked R&F, and should you think you are safe from purging – well, consider yourself warned. Here’s an alternative – be the lighting rod of the change needed in the trades!

 

  1. Both think business runs the show. This statement speaks for itself. The Building Trades “MISSION” once upon a time was to be a balance to Organized Capital – not its punk! Collaboration carries with it RISK, anywhere other than at a Collective Bargaining Table! The trades have long ceased being a MOVEMENT representing workers – union or not. We are far more than a BS brand selling skills. Organizing today means RECRUITING to keep a workforce pool available for management’s needs on management’s terms. No more than a temp agency! Senior level officers have to keep the R&F thinking they belong to a union. Senior level Organizers still run company blitzes, are out teaching COMET classes yet again, still have discussions on bottom-up, top-down and corporate campaigns – all losers by and large. They conduct workshops of all forms that are endless by design. The Trades cannot organize and raise market share without substantial doses of Labor Unrest. They can’t just take the workers and have nowhere to put them – unless we are a temp agency with the design to purge old high paying jobs with benefits, to lower paying classifications with minimal benefits – GET IT!  TO Organize a union must take the non-union company regardless if they want to or not and sign them to a CBA! And put anti-union companies down and/or out of business! This isn’t a statement to be bad ass or a thug. It carries with it a huge responsibility.  For a capitalistic society to run well requires a strong, free and independent labor MOVEMENT. Middle class is the result of both labor and capital doing their roles and being in balance. With the trades collaborating and deferment to everything management and price driven – the formation of working poor has taken hold! Every poll shows that workers want a union, but not the current Building Trades union model that exists today – precisely because of the lack of unity and an underlying MOVEMENT. The comradery of a MOVEMENT, which is cited by the non-union directly, “trumps” money and benefits. Most of those who have joined unions in recent times via recruitment do so because they want a check for as long as they can get it! It is a business decision by them. What goes around – comes around. A business brand does not inspire any type of loyalty, and yet we wonder why workers go back and forth from non-union to union.

For the above reasons, along with many more demonstrable reasons which Labor Rising/Labor Combat have clearly worked to change, we now move to work with entities to craft a vision of a MOVEMENT! True REFORM of the Building Trades. I have permission to state that we have been working formally with a National group(s) to do just that!

Our mission is to bring no-nonsense pressure on capital and broker agreements on behalf of workers. The existing trades structure will NOT be used, and a new Building Trades structure will take hold. It’s not that hard to become a UNION streamlined in contemporary use of technology, with old school representation of workers, and with a one worker – one vote governing body. With 88% of the work non-union, with people of color & women historically locked out and now being used, and solid existing R&F support that is fed up – plus some national muscle that sides with workers and citizens – it is time to move the dial!

The agenda of the Freedom caucus is ACA, Supreme Court, Tax Reform, Labor Reform, Entitlement Reform in roughly that order per their own information. Infrastructure is not on their agenda! It may be on Trumps agenda, but not there’s. So, with the ACA back in negotiations and Gorsuch confirmed, look for anti-labor legislation proliferation by the feds and the states soon!

The existing version of the trades will not fare well in the upcoming environment; and our current leaders will forever be etched into history as those leaders who lost it because of the BS culture we ALL find ourselves in; and are too afraid to do what is needed to change it!

Labor Rising knows who the current champions of workers are, and will continue working with and for those Locals and Building Trades who can’t be told what to do. Connecting those genuine leaders to a greater MOVEMENT is our mission now!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

Good Morning and Welcome to the Legislative Conference –

The North American Building Trades Conference CAN BE a very good event for the trades “IF” it changes with the circumstances and reflects that in action. Something we are not too good at so far!

This year’s conference is unlike previous years’ in that the future for unionized construction is no longer business as usual. Some senior level leaders have been correct in stating that the trades may be facing “extinction level” events in the very near term. If “anyone” can predict what Trump and this Congress will do – you’re guessing, period! And the BS wisdom out there is having a seat at the table. There isn’t a table. Every current scenario has the trades getting kicked in the teeth. Which BTW includes Trump looking for D’s support. Hell, the D’s have the lowest approval rating of all parties in DC.

Looking at the agenda for this year’s Legislative Conference, it appears that it will be a conference with “much of the same”! 11 Workshops on Monday – so more than in years past. Tuesday, as of this post hasn’t any sessions listed on App. That’s not good. So, same vendors and leaders doing exactly what they did last year, which is – REACT! Trump was elected in November and the agenda and the session outline for this conference is geared to outcomes the trades have little control of! We must play DEFENSE and HOPE to get help SOMEWHERE! Hope is not a strategy!

Good chance Trump may even show up to REASSURE us. The Right Wing is setting the agenda – not him!

The Keynote can set the TONE – however, the facts must fit, and spin and self-aggrandizing of those facts serve to undermine the trades and the conference, right out of the box!

Here is a link for the current and past numbers for construction from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for your review. Real facts in context – NET!

https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag23.htm#about

Union Membership Summary by Department of Labor

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

Labor Rising Post –  PRIVATE SECTOR/BUILDING TRADES UNIONS LOSE 240,000 JOBS IN 2016 –

http://www.laborrising.com/2017/02/private-sectorbuilding-trades-unions-lose-240000-jobs-in-2016/

You can see the trades have been trending sideways/down “NET” – give or take a few thousand jobs either way for the last few years. See Union Membership and Representation and the Back-Data Charts on the first link above.

What is lost/not reflected in those above numbers is the significant increase in construction spending since 2013. 2015/2016, and so far in 2017, construction spending is in back-to-back-to-back years of record dollars at approximately $1.6 trillion-ish. Translation, the trades are losing ground “NET” participating in the increase in work, even when we add in advances in construction delivery. Added to that is the fact that 6 states account for the trades ability to even trend sideways/down. If even ONE of those states slips and/or falls – so will the numbers. So, saying we are gaining ground in any way is pure BS and spin. But, you’ll be hearing it during this conference anyway. Not in context – but hearing it none-the-less!

The trades’ Retention Rate is frozen at 1:1, which means the trades ARE training the non-union. The trades are being REVERSE-RECRUITED and are treated as a pool of labor to strip for the non-union. The trades lose senior supervision and solid journeypersons to the non-union and the trades recruit basically ANONE that will take a book. Not sustainable. How many Open Calls are going unfilled today across the trades? It is a large number. We can’t get the workers because the non-union has the jobs. Also, all sectors of construction use less union trades measured in “CONTEXT” than a decade ago. So, this continued notion that the various sectors need us is not borne out in real hard numbers.

The amount of “concessionary” give-backs and bargaining has been staggering for now over a decade. It goes back to 1973. PLA’s replacing CBA’s is also setting the stage to contribute to an extinction of the trades. Management can “WALK AWAY” from a PLA in a heartbeat – case closed! BTW, the trades don’t offer PLA’s to management – they are demanded with concessions by management!

Any trade leaders that say stuff like “we have to be competitive” need to stop representing workers. They are certainly NOT Organizers. These comments are the roots for the “race to the bottom”. Can you even imagine our Founders saying that?

Consider big ticket items such as underfunded pensions and anti-union legislators across the board and the odds are tilting away from the trades restoring the heritage of our Founders as an independent and free trade union MOVEMENT with the current strategy and most of the current leaders!

The sinister component to the trades being in this predicament is a strategy of collaboration. The trades call it Value on Display! A loser since inception approximately 20 years ago, except for those on the Internationals LM-2 and management!

Who can we trust to collaborate with? Management, legislators of either party, community groups with their own agenda, safety enforcement by the agencies and/or insurers, enforcement of labor law, each other in the trades regarding jurisdiction, non-union workers? Every one listed above have been a “NET” loser in the big picture of market share using collaboration to lift the trades market share.

The Trades have the chance to play big; and yet we continue strategies and tactics that are proven losers!

Without legal & lawful Labor Unrest – 21st century style – the trades are testing the limits of our very existence. Not “bottom up” labor unrest – getting to the clients, credit and social footprint(perception) of the end-user, developer & construction manager – the trades are going nowhere.

As our Founders knew and practiced, grab business by the wallet and the rest will follow. Our Founders controlled the means of production and not just the workers of those companies at the top of the food chain! Not the subs and GC’s – those that sign the checks! They imposed a CBA on non-union companies, and helped put anti-union companies out of business! In an era of consolidation and contraction of the construction market – the trades could decide who wins and losses in these high stakes outcomes. Huge leverage and yet the shrinking violets of leadership are afraid to wield this powerful leverage.

This conference agenda falls short of helping Rank & File leaders to understand Labor Unrest to its fullest: the power that comes when we trust ourselves and lead from the front; when we quit playing and being victims; when we have the numbers to demand a seat at the table and not beg from the kids’ table.

Time is OUT! The R’s, after their bout with the ACA, are going to pivot to taxes, regulations and unionized labor. The Freedom Caucus has the leverage now to get most, if not all, of what they want.

The top item they want is the head of labor on a platter! Nothing less!

So, rah rah speeches and trips to vendor paid dinners (which BTW means the members paid for it) are rapidly coming to an end.

Business as usual is a bitch! It carries consequences when the trades’ leaders aren’t ready for the hand now being dealt!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

Alternative Facts of the Building Trades President Sean Mc Garvey –

Alternate Facts to the max, the Building Trades Sean McGarvey released the statement below. This isn’t “spin” – it is rearranging “FACTS” in a manner to deceive. What is pathetic – is not the Trades BS SPIN, it is that members just accept it. Good ole boy wannabees and mostly men that just go along to get along.

February 7, 2017

FOR IMMEIDATE RELEASE
Contact:
Tom Owens
202-756-4623
towens@buildingtrades.org
 
Union Construction Continues to Expand – And That’s No Accident

WASHINGTON, DC – The following statement was released today by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) in response to the recent release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics of its annual report on union labor membership and market density:

“The recent release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reaffirms the fact that the union construction sector continues on an upward growth trajectory for membership and market share.  Construction unions added 99,000 members in 2016, with the percentage of construction workers represented by a union increasing by 1%.  Since 2010, at the low point of the Great Recession/Depression for the U.S. construction industry, North America’s Building Trades Unions have added 238,000 members, according to BLS data.

“But, the BLS numbers do not tell the whole story.  For 2016, actual union density in the US construction industry, exclusive of residential construction, is fast approaching 45 percent nationwide, an increase of 5% in just a few short years.

“These numbers are not surprising given the fact that large segments of private industry, especially in the commercial, heavy and industrial sectors, are increasingly turning to unionized craft professionals because of our value, reliability, quality workmanship, workforce development programs, and the consistent delivery of ‘on-time, on-budget’ project results.

“North America’s Building Trades Unions continue to be well-positioned, via our formal apprenticeship training and apprenticeship-readiness programs, to meet the significant projected and future construction labor demands in the energy sector, as well as to meet the skilled craft workforce needs associated with bi-partisan plans for public infrastructure investments.”
###

It is very clear in the first paragraph that the entire statement following the 1st paragraph and in “quotation marks” are that of the Building Trades; with an interpretation of the statistics provided in official BLS reports – which BTW are NEVER attached.

Here is the link for just one of those pertinent BLS reports. Real Facts in context! https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf

For those that like facts – here is another.

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpslutabs.htm

For the Trades, International LM-2. Click on this link or cut and paste – https://olms.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do   Put your unions File number in the top box.

UA File # 000-111 IW File # 000-052 IBEW File # 000-116 SMART File # 000-073 OE File #  000-159 Laborers File # 000-131 Roofers File # 000-135 OPCMIA File # 000-132 BAC File # 000-034  IUPAT File # 000-035 Boilermakers File # 000-074 Elevator File # 000-197 Insulators File # 000-090 Carpenters File # 000-085

The Building Trades continue to take huge liberties with hard facts and reported numbers. And nothing the Building Trades has said in the past 18 years has been in CONTEXT regarding the world of union construction vs. non-union construction. NOT ONE THING! Labor Rising has written 174 blogs over 7 years with the trades numbers in context and links always provided. NOT ONE has ever been disputed by Sean Mc Garvey or the National Building Trades – not one!

Every single number since 1973, and especially from 2008 – IN CONTEXT shows the Trades across the board and IN CONTEXT – “NET” – getting its butt kicked.

For example, the artful turn of alternative facts would be – “Construction unions added 99,000 members in 2016, with the percentage of construction workers represented by a union increasing by 1%. 

So, is this apprentices, recruited, organized, all of the above? What about those who retired, left the trades, paying dues but not qualified for H&W benefits, underemployed and unemployed – the real numbers reported by the trades in the LM-2’s which stand in stark contrast – “NET”!?!

The entire statement above and the previous statements released for several years are inaccurate portrayals of a massively failed strategy called Value on Display.

It is usually buried in the news feed of the Building Trades’ website.

However, it is passed off as fact at the upcoming legislative conference! And the point of this is NO ONE SAYS A F*#king word!

Look at the same old tired agenda for 2017, yet again. The Trades stand on the brink of extinction, with barrage after barrage of anti-union sentiment and action coming their way – and we claim we are winning and go party at the finest venues D.C. has to offer!

And that is why the workers in the non-union instinctively know not to join what has long ceased to be a MOVEMENT defending workers!

The senior leadership of the trades live with Alternative Facts and the membership goes quietly along –

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

A Response to GP Dean of the Ironworkers and Unfunded Pensions –

Here is a link to the recent President’s Page by Eric Dean, General President of the Ironworkers, so you can see what was written and compare it to what may be said in our own trades case. Most of the trades GPs may find themselves in a position to write this type of letter to both Locals and their own respective entire U.S. membership. Only the International Union of Elevator Constructors are pretty much exempt from our comments, mostly because their current IP ceased control of their International years ago, to change the course of the underfunded and insolvent pension. https://1drv.ms/b/s!AmKOi71GyLcgvwu9aIwUFbflwpb1

One of the highlights or lowlights on the Presidents Page is that “Pension obligations are a promise – one that our union intends to keep – to everyone who has worked to earn credit in the plan, retired or not.”

Are the IW’s or any of the Internationals going to write checks for the difference between the unfunded amounts and the earned amount of the participants? In this case IW Local 17. Probably not! So how can it be implied that EVERYONE will be made whole? They are not. Also, the members of that local did not rescue the plan. They had to decide between 2 horrible choices presented. Case closed! Either choice has terrible ramifications. Here is a link to a blog Labor Rising wrote in October of 2015 on dealing with unfunded and insolvent pension funds. BLOG 127 https://1drv.ms/w/s!AmKOi71GyLcgrzFekvC4BV7FteTi

This looming disaster of unfunded liabilities has been on the radar screen since the late 90’s. Just check the sessions that the IFEBP had back then at the Trustee Education Conferences. I ran the New Trustees Institute for years, and can attest to the lack of attention paid to this subject back then. The Trustees were too busy playing golf and sightseeing rather than attending classes to deal with the subject. I know because before classes I would sit on the car ports of the respective host hotels and watch a parade of limos, provided by the vendors, take the Trustees to fabulous venues – but not class, daily.

This Class of Trustees is comprised of almost exactly the same men that let Organizing die and have seen Value on Display fail massively and yet do NOTHING! A “good ole boy “class of men of inaction!

Almost ALL pension underfunded/insolvency issues faced today are “good ole boy” issues – then and now! For 30 years grown men said “put the money on the check” when asked what to do with new raises each year. It was almost universal across the trades. Then after 30 years of pennies going into a pension – those very same men had next to zero in their retirement accounts as they approached retirement! In the late 90’s and going into the early 2000’s most of the raises in an era of good construction went to the pension. That would have been OK – EXCEPT – these “good ole boys” put money they DID NOT HAVE into bringing up past accruals. Which simply means they took a huge benefit which was not supported by hard dollars. The members on the floor did not understand that they were digging their own hole. HOW COULD THEY? Who in their right mind as a member turns down something too good to be true? So, for greed purposes of the senior leadership intent on raising their own pensions – and to curry political favors of the membership as being great Stewards of the fund – we collectively put these funds in a hole, many cannot get out of.  Here is a link to the current list by the DOL. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/public-disclosure/critical-status-notices

Reverse engineer any plan in trouble today and see if this is not the case in most of them. Massive amounts of past benefit accruals with next to zero dollars to support them for the sake of greed and politics.

As a Trustee of our plans, we had to have a massive floor fight to undo this “good ole boy” feel good BS! In the mid 90’s we went to a system of paying/using new money on prospective benefit improvements almost exclusively. Had we not – we would be on the insolvent list too! Also, the members had to pony up some money to shore up liabilities that accrued to that time.

Most of the reason that I tell you this is because I lived it, and continue to bring transparency to this self-imposed crisis. While market loses in 2001 and 2008 did not help – all they did was expose how bad and extensive the underfunding was. Organizing is also a self-inflicted wound contributing to this underfunding. IP Dean, and the other IPs will not fight the moneyed interests in construction. Their “plan” is to talk to them. 20 years of failure with Value on Display and they are appalled that some of us in Organizing want to put the anti-union down. Gotta agree with Mike Tyson when he said, “Everyone has a ‘plan’ – till they get punched in the face!”

The main reason I write this – is because those who put us in both the pension and organizing crises are now trying to solve it! They are either directly responsible and/or the next generation of “good ole boys”! If you think for a moment they are not passing the buck to the agencies like PBGC and MPRA 2014 – well, we are going to find out the hard way – aren’t we?

In the IW’s case, one of a few smoking guns is the LU/DC, which is the officers and agents additional pension program. A slush fund of “good ole boys” and their cronies to the max. If the membership ever knew the extent of the abuses of this fund, they would puke! The methods of payment and eligibility rules were just out of control to any reasoned person who isn’t a “good ole boy.” And who bailed this fund out when it was headed to insolvency years ago?  –  The membership!  Four others and I took on this issue at the agents’ meeting. No one else did at that meeting. Years later, the government imposed change.

This is replicated all over the trades landscape. So, those leaders now writing to tell you they are the ones to trust to handle this, have few/zero solutions. Reverse engineer where they were in the hierarchy when all this has been happening the past couple of decades. Many members across the trades are going to be crippled. We are not going to solve this with the same “LEADERS” that either caused it and/or looked the other way because of the political impact to their career.

Hell, right now the end-users, developers and CM’s are dictating that they will not contribute to a Defined Contribution Pension in existing and upcoming PLA’s. Dictating! So, even those healthy funds may be in a bind because of lack of contributions.

2 and only 2 solutions presently exist to change the present outcome. First – we have to Organize like our Founders did. Labor Rising/Labor Combat has the only format that is the 21st century version of that.

Those who have been to class and say “it doesn’t work” haven’t tried it. Show us the market spread and SIC analysis your Local ran and the developed Compression Zone(s). Show developed strategies and tactics. We know we win because enough locals have done this and are winning

The 2nd is to do the freaking Construction Management – the trades as Construction Managers. We win, we change construction delivery on the continent. Pensions and careers are saved. Workers join. Here is a link to our last Blog regarding this. https://1drv.ms/w/s!AmKOi71GyLcgvwFcfuvoZZhIHvCn

Senior Leadership who refuse to do this are almost certainly are either incompetent and/or owned by management.

If the shoe fits –

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

BTW: To the membership of IW Local 17. Who paid for the testing for the MPRA? Extremely expensive and I’m confident the International is going to school on how to do this for other locals. Did the International pay for, or help pay for this testing?

Also, should the International adopt real Organizing which is imposing a CBA on the non-union and adopting the trades being the Construction Manager – YOU COULD reverse the downward spiral the Local has faced for decades.