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The IP’s Don’t Have the Courage to be a Labor Movement –

Samuel Gompers, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Lady in White, A. Philip Randolph, Frances Perkins, John L. Lewis, Cesar Chavez, Eugene Debs, Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, et al.

MOVEMENT – something you are a part of that you may never see the benefits of! It is greater than you!

Now look at these names of our General Presidents below – do you see any of them that rise to the level of MOVEMENT caliper, and in line with those “LEADERS” listed above!!

James P. “Bud” McCourt, Newton Jones, James Boland, Lonnie Stephenson, James P. Hoffa, Frank Christensen, Eric Dean, Daniel E. Stepano, Kenneth E. Rigmaiden, Kinsey Robinson, Joseph Sellers, Jr., Mark McManus, Terry O’Sullivan and James T. Callahan; along with their point man Sean Mc Garvey preside over a totally failed culture of Value on Display! A business model of selling! Most of the above International Presidents have been hand-picked by their predecessor, or from a small list of wannabes. All flow from a failed pecking order dating back decades. It is a political culture and is not a cauldron of our “best” – elected from an unencumbered and almost universal BS election. With platitudes and loyalty to a fault as the norm exalting our various IP’s. The trades version of Trumps military parade!  So, understand that when we may say that an induvial leader is good – our best leaders still exists in a failed political culture which has hijacked the energy of the membership; and turned them into employees of a temp agency!

Truly great senior leaders would offer a vision of a MOVEMENT. Put themselves in a position to challenge for leadership based on a shared vision of workers rights. They would speak – sometimes in opposition – to the status quo. Not behind close doors, where they risk nothing, but on the convention floor, or agent’s meetings. Not happening now for decades. All fall in line.

All the IP’s believe that “strength – holds an organization together”. That’s how they preside over their respective unions. All continue to serve and perpetuate losing – not only in market share, but the Middle-Class vision that was once the Trades mission! All continually concede to managements demands; and have put their respective organizations in a position of taking whatever crumbs politicians give them!

All crush any opposition with an Iron Hand that makes Trump look like an amateur. Many have learned how to, over decades of mentorship; and all believe in their absolute right to rule with an Iron Hand. Some use the Velvet Glove style of ruling and/or in using surrogate hacks as an extensions of their power.

The Building Trades are littered with members who dared to ask questions and challenge a decision. Unions and DC who refuse to sign concessionary agreements. Conventions with stacked decks. Resolutions buried and derailed by stacked committees. We as union members get a leader picked from among a narrow group, and not from electing from among a robust and dynamic membership!

The job of IP, and of all senior leaders, reveal their fundamental character! Organizing is now recruitment and maintaining enough hours to be a viable temp agency. Blitzing my ass – it is recruitment. The trades have next to zero ability to impose their will on management.

Recruited employees join for a check – and not for the shared mission of a MOVEMENT transforming entire sectors of workers. Being part of something bigger than ourselves! We do not champion the “VALUE” of a living wage, benefits and safe working conditions for all. We cede all of the above to be competitive. That very word, competitive – in and of itself demonstrates that an Organizer isn’t an Organizer, when the Organizer cites the word competitive. In every way and form they are enabling the race to the bottom. Helping IP’ to create sub classes of workers to be competitive, to cede more and more wages, benefits and conditions. No Organizer uses that word, an Organizers mission is to have a seat at the table via a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). Our Founders took on management – not roll over to it. It developed the power of people to have a say in the work place and in the political universe.

The job of International Presidents reveals character – and that character is political and being Iron Handed for many decades now.

Yes, many young people want a union – a MOVEMENT! And until that comes along they will take a check!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

12 Reasons Why IBEW IP Stephenson et al are Going in the Wrong Direction in Advancing the Trades Thru Membership Development as a Primary Strategy –

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolores_Huerta

12 Reasons Why IBEW IP Stephenson et al are Going in the Wrong Direction in Advancing the Trades Thru Membership Development as a Primary Strategy –

  1. In the IBEW Hour Power International President’s Message: A Pew Research study was cited, here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxAgYY7ZN7U&feature=youtu.be while optimistic about the favorability of a “UNION” – The Pew study was both corporate and union favorability. Here is the correct title: Most Americans see labor unions, corporations favorably – Listed below is what will take all the wind out of the sails of big membership increases using a Strategy of Membership Development as a go too strategy! Unions in the research was NOT defined. Most of the responders would think of teachers, public sector, industrial, nurses, etc.
  2. Here is a link to an overview of the research which is well rounded and unbiased written by Shiva Maniam, he is a former research assistant focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center. Please read and scroll down to the bottom of the article for the Pew The (PDF) is available here – and methodology can be found here.
  3. It was question 50, and as even Pew admits – where and when a question is asked is very important. Also, the format and content of the questions can lead a responder to a response. Open ended questions and closed ended questions can help shape the data in a survey. Even with a quality organization such as PEW. Most of the analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted January 4-9, 2017 among a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/01/27152758/Business-labor-topline-for-release.pdf
  4. As you can see 746 surveyed of 1,502 responded to question 50. Here is the Methodology used for this research. This is part of the actual wording and please click on the link for the entire context of methodology. “A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 year of age or older. For detailed information about the Pew survey methodology, see” http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/ “The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2015 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census.”
  5. Get out your phones Brothers and Sisters – PLEASE. Google how to become an electrician/or careers as an electrician (or any trade) in your respective city. So, Cincinnati, Tampa, Omaha, Boston, LA, etc. Use the search word “JOB’ or “Career”, Apprenticeship is seldom used as a search term. That can be verified with Google directly. They know the search terms down to a click in any given area. Chances are more than 80% that your union apprenticeship program is not listed on the first page, and less than 20%, that there is at least 1 search result. We know this because we did this exercise live in Labor Rising training, hundreds of times, and keep score. So, any continuing drive to recruit in an age of information drives more young persons to Community Colleges, Tech Schools, employers, head hunters, etc. NICE – we are doing their job for them.
  6. Retention – yep RETENTION! Only spoken about at the senior most levels. Not only is #5 true, but the IBEW et al are also training the non-union workers. Retention is hovering around 1:1 even with the winds of record levels of work in our collective sails. Most unions count members in. Those recruited and apprentices. Seldom is their an offset for retirees and those lost for several reasons. The biggest of those is lack of work. Time on a list, waiting. Time on the road and away from family and reciprocated hours screwing up benefits, especially Health & Welfare eligibility! Also understand that Baby Boomers span the era from 1946 to 1964. The oldest baby boomers started turning 65back in 2011, and many of them have already retired. So, retirees are not driving members leaving the trades as far as Baby Boomers are concerned. Many MEMBERS are taking their retirement and moving to the non-union. The trades in effect are TRAINING the majority of the non-union. Past and present! The consequences of a Value Centric, Value on Display strategy. Should Membership development/recruitment now be the center piece of the Trades – this version of the Trades dies. No time left for another failed strategy!
  7. Own the workers and own the market philosophy! With the non-union having 90% of the work, this is a hail Mary of the longest odds, say from the 5-yard line! Got to have the contractors to put those kind of numbers, even in 10% increments to work. Union contractors, NET is leaving and or double breasted. Think the unemployment list/book for jobs is long now, add 10% or more to it! Also, putting more recruited workers with existing contractors with solid amounts of work – IS NOT raising market share. Must have the contractors and their workers as a unit to increase market share – case closed!
  8. Reverse Recruitment – what? Reverse recruitment now in its 4th year and growing. So, Google Tradesmen International, ihirebuildingtrades, Trillium Construction Services, Labor Ready and several more. These companies are ALSO recruitment/head hunters of union tradespersons, not just temp agencies. They collectively recruit the trades for top hands. All vetted, trained and drug tested courtesy of the trades. They know when these union workers are off and are increasingly skilled at approaching them. Why? Because many of them are ex-members. They offer stable work relative to construction, signing bonuses, incentives to sign other tradespersons and more. If you think these jobs are not decent pay for solid hands, you would be wrong. More and more reports from field organizers attest that the non-union in many areas, are at, or above total package of the stripped-down BS Agreements and concessions given by the Internationals. These concessions of EVERY type where supposedly to gain market share – no sir! They are the very definition of the Race to the Bottom! No concessions to date have arrested the loss of market share “NET”!
  9. The Hail Mary of People of Color and Women in the trades! Both boxed out of the trades for decades; and if you know the trades history, excluded from membership for a time. As an Apprenticeship teacher for 9 years back in the 90’s, I had some of the first women to attend the apprenticeship. Life was nothing short of hell for them – and yet most preserved and became fine journey-women! To this day the Trades isn’t called the “good ole boys club” for nothing! Just check out any current pix of the total International senior leadership and good luck with diversity. Now – “IF” the trades have really changed then that is meaningful! How ever “IF” the Trades are USING women and people of color to shore up numbers – then that will be soon figured out! The groups we excluded are now the groups we need to just survive! And at the end of the day, those workers also need a job, which is dependent on a contractor! We are losing contractors “NET” – not gaining them, almost entirely because of a flawed strategy called Value on Display which appeases construction management and end-users! This flawed and failed strategy is giving way to the flawed strategy of membership development/recruitment.
  10. A PR nightmare is looming. Insolvency of many union defined benefit pension plans in many locals thru-out the trades. The Congress doesn’t appear to want to bail these unions out. So, should they fail, and benefits reduced measurably, the anti-union will hang this on the union stewardship of these trust funds. A couple of scores of funds have already gone to the PBGC, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. This means those pensioners are getting .30 cents on the dollar – today!
  11. The betting odds is that “IF’ we get an Infrastructure Bill at all; all forms of anti-union rules will be attached. So, repealing PLA’s, prevailing wage, labor rights, etc. will be most likely attached. Just look at the NLRB Board under Trump.                                                                                                           In Less Than A Year, Trump Has Stripped Back Workers’ Ability To Unionize

His revamped labor board issued a slew of new policies at the end of 2017 that will make collective bargaining harder.                                                             https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-workers-union-rights-2017_us_5a42b5b1e4b025f99e187ea5?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

  1. Hours & Appeasement of management – that’s where the Trades are at Brothers & Sisters! Value on Display was borne out of collapsing market share in the mid 90’s. Those decisions were based on a path of least resistance. Selling a business brand of skills and training to management; and hoping they buy it with hugely discounted packages. Abandoning the MOVEMENT that was once the Trades! The Trades have had their share of bad decisions thru its history. However, becoming a BRAND will rank as the worse one ever. Every number for the past 4 decades attest to that! So now here we are late in the 4th quarter and we are going to tie our future to Membership Development, flying under the misnomer of Organizing. Our Founders defined Organizing! It is taking the company and putting that company under a Collective Bargaining Agreement regardless if it wants one or not! It is putting down and out of business bad actors in the construction industry! It is understanding SIC/NAICS codes, credit reports, technology, communications platforms, opposition research, hiring and the use of labor unrest and civil disobedience, controlling production, strikes, plus more!

 

Our collective of multiple generations of hand-picked International Presidents, void of a democratic process – along with Sean Mc Garvey; have completely ceded their roles of advancing workers agendas – in complete support of management!

The above 12 reasons of failure fall entirely on their shoulders –

All are heading business organizations void of any heat being placed on companies in favor of workers, union or not, and the Middle Class.

On your watch is the Middle Class turning into the Working Poor! On your watch, and history will be a harsh judge.

The numbers and evidence show you to be compromised in favor of management views and HOURS! Hours to feather individual’s (your) pocket and your political hacks pockets. To be organizations that are controlled by management demands. What would our Founders say if they saw the total surrender of a Free and Independent Labor Movement sold out!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Combat/Labor Rising

True Union Organizing & The Dow @ 26,000 –

The strong correlation between the rich getting richer and the decline of Organized Labor has been evident across all sectors for the past 30 plus years. In our capitalist society, the balance between labor, management and government is needed to ensure that all have a seat at the table. Management serves a mindless piece of paper called a corporate charter whose religion is profits – pure and simple.

Government regulations and taxes are needed and the debate about the form and reach of those regulations and taxes is healthy. However, government oversight, once agreed to, is tantamount to a door locked to keep an honest person honest. Money interests buy every loophole!

One of the critical components of a free capitalistic society is organized labor. But, Organized Labor, and especially the Building Trades, have been an oxymoron for the better part of 35 years. In the Trades, it is clear that we have decided to co-operate with our own demise, working with the strategy of Value on Display; collaborating with the very institutions that seek to put us out of existence. Every number “NET” regarding growth of the trades – clearly and overwhelmingly demonstrates this for the last 3 decades! Everyone!

Complaining about big money is useless without concerted activity to FORCE management to share the profits. Our strategy for the past approx. 30 years has been 2-fold.  An over reliance on politicians to advance labor’s rights; and by appeasing and cooperating with big business. The “let’s not make waves” approach in dealing with these “junk yard dogs” is exactly why we are drowning in the water.

Now, either the current and immediate former International Presidents for the past 30 years are afraid of big business or they are complicit with them! Neither is good! After 3 decades of continuous losses of market share, wages, benefits and conditions – what else can one conclude? None of the current IP’s have jettison the Value Centric model. And the losing “NET” continues, even with 3 years of record construction spending. The Trades are losing market share even with a massive wind of construction spending to their collective backs!

A CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) was once the vehicle that provided labor peace on a job. Brothers & Sisters, no one signs a CBA willingly. Management signs for one of two reasons: either they are forced to do so, or they must in order to gain entry into a CBA controlled market. Since we have very little control over any market, the second is dead on arrival.

A PLA is NO CBA!

Only a strong and pro-active labor movement will keep the American/Canadian middle class in the game. Our approach in dealing with management should be the 21st century version of concerted activity, which would include large doses of labor unrest and civil disobedience all channeling workers’ outrage into action! A “leader” does that! A politician talks about it in meeting after meeting.

If concerned about what impact concerted activity will have on our image, ask most normal independent minded Americans how they feel about organized labor. Yes, those polled say they want a union in the US, however, they certainly don’t want the existing Trades Unions presented to them. Numbers across the board demonstrate that! The response will not bode well for labor. At the end of the day, Americans/Canadians like winners and respect those workers with the integrity to advance all workers’ lives lawfully!

If we, as Organized Labor, continue down the path of being victims, we will not advance labor’s rights and will continue to get less and less.

The Middle Class is becoming the Working Poor over the last 35 years of trades leadership!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising

Buckle Up Building Trades on Labor Day –

Every number measurable in every area of the Building Trades has absolutely demonstrated Value on Display to be a huge failure for Building Trades Members, which are rapidly being replaced by employees via recruitment!

Who has embraced and benefited from Value on Display are all International Officers and appointees (good ole boys) and construction management which BTW are breaking new record levels of profit.

For 30 years the wages of workers vs the wages for leadership and construction company’s profits have gone in the opposite directions. Building Trades members disappearing from the ranks to be replaced by employees of a temp agency! Wages, benefits, conditions and hours disappearing in massive numbers along with the membership rank. All to be COMPETITIVE with non-union wages and conditions. The real reason for the “Race to the Bottom.” Our Founders on this Labor Day would have nothing to do with the leadership of today, and for the last 30 years. Meanwhile the officers and appointees haven’t missed a check or meal. Salaries of BT leadership and management profits continue to rise on the backs of tradespersons.

As our 187 blogs have been witness to, Value on Display is a sellout of BT leadership to construction management of the Labor MOVEMENT of our Founders – long ago jettisoned; which our book will clearly outline after several years of research. And it is – by design and will be detailed.

Buckle Up Tradespersons of the Building Trades, because it is going to get much worse. Why!

Harvey! The wonderful spirt of humanity is on display NOW, and it is awesome. But, it is going to be replaced soon with politics, greed and sellouts by leadership in government, construction infrastructure rebuilding and Building Trades Presidents doing ANYTHING they can to get HOURS to shore up failed strategies!

Topping the list will be prevailing wage suspension, or flat out repeal. The reason – to expedite rebuilding! Tied to all infrastructure spending for both the relief of Harvey and the infrastructure spending for the US at large via a Republican agenda is worker and union legislation! Harvey is the very vehicle/cover needed to enact all types of anti-worker, anti-union legislation.

Any bets on this!?!

And the Building Trades President and International Presidents will do nothing other than stand in line for the crumbs, and to get those crumbs (hours) they will sign away on the dotted line with concessions of every type! And it is because they will not fight! They are to beholding to management and their checks!

With the Trump administration now, and a potential Pence administration, all unions need to buckle up. Trump and his administration have been mute on Davis – Bacon. A Pence presidency would repeal it. And so, will the Trump administration. Harvey is the vehicle for the Freedom Caucus, ALEC, RTW, Business Roundtable and others to nix this law. The Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINSAct and an alternate Bill called the Regulatory Accountability Act which are actions now before the Senate, which have cleared Congress, may now advance. Both cleared Senate committee but have stalled on full Senate vote. Harvey may very well change that. Read the Acts and tell me how they affect all forms of regulations? There are all sorts of activities now going on to defang the NLRB. And I don’t mean roll back the NLRB – I mean strip unions of the Right to Organize. A big deal! Keep in mind that the Supreme Court came within a hair of defunding many public sector unions, and only because it had 8 members.

So here we are all beating on our chests about Labor Day, and we couldn’t hang in with those Brothers and Sisters of a MOVEMENT driven Building Trades that has been passed to us. The Founders are watching – both the leadership and the Rank & File. Either or both can change outcomes.

With 90% of all construction now done non/anti-union and our IP’s not up for the fight – this version of the trades hangs on a thread.

The flock of workers going to Texas along with relief for more workers from H-2B and legal immigration legislation, the future looks as it should for a temp agency. No workers to cover work. The non-union are now paying more in total compensation in many areas, then the unions along with the BT having the single worst strategy. All combine to decimate the Value business based model – right out of existence. Well within our lifetimes, which means Pensions that aren’t already either insolvent or on the brink will fail.

Hours will hold for a period early – however with the trades beholding to business and market conditions – will fail.

This is all predicated on the IP’s and the Trades leadership staying with the failed Value on Display and even bottom-up, but especially recruitment!

“if you see a good fight – soon after Labor Day – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

McGarvey and the IPs with a Nowhere to go Strategy –

Soon after the inauguration leaders of the Building Trades, led by Sean McGarvey, met with President Trump. The video of the leaders’ effusive phase of the Trump meeting will be in scripted on the tombstone of the Trades. “We have a common bond with the President. We come from the same industry. He understands the value of driving development, moving people to the middle class.” In the video, McGarvey describes the meeting with Trump as probably the most incredible of our careers.  https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=video+of+sean+mcgarvey+after+meeting+with+president+trump#id=1&vid=6c3a5387eae46e44587ca0049475ea04&action=click

The Trade Unions seem incapable of understanding that Trump is not our friend – and even “IF” he was/is – what does that say about who we are? Jobs at any cost?

Of course, JOBS AT ANY COST! The current International Presidents and McGarvey, along with the leadership of the trades for the last 30 years, have created the perfect storm of incompetence across the board. They must have the obsession of “jobs at any price” or the good ole boys don’t have a gig and a check.

At the center of the storm is Value on Display – rooted in jobs at any price. Concession after concession to management for 3 decades. More and more lower wage classifications. Reduced wages, benefits and the jettisoning of Defined Benefits underway, along with conditions for 30 years, and yet the numbers across the trades continue to drop in every year Value on Display has been in existence as the trades’ strategy. Keep in mind that years leading up to 2006 were record years in construction. Now the last 3 years have even TRUMPED those years with approximately $1.5 trillion in work per year! But, read on for what that means to union labor because we continue to drop market share commensurate with construction gains.

Here are the trades’ membership numbers for 2016 LM-2:

LM-2 File Number: Active membership approximations (approximations because members mean different things to different trades. Many/most have some combination of Retired, Early Retired, Life Members, 40 Year Members, Honorary Members, Special Limited, Limited Members, Agency Fee Payers, Superannuated Members, Disabled Members, Exempt and Affiliate which are counted as membership.) The numbers posted below are from the 2016 LM-2 and are what is counted as Active Members “IN THE FIELD” but are approximations. So, check for yourself – link for getting Labor Departments LM-2: https://olms.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do

FILE# 000-111 UA – 336,000    FILE# 000-052 IW – 103,000    FILE# 000-116 – IBEW 666,000    FILE# 000-159 OE 377,000    File# 000-131 Laborers 377,000 in the trades – excluding mail handlers and associates    FILE# 000-135 Roofers 17,000    FILE# 000-132 OPCMIA 39,000    FILE# 000-034 BAC 58,000    FILE# 000-035 IUPAT 98,000    FILE# 000-074 Boilermakers 53,000    FILE# 000-197 Elevator 26,000    FILE# 000-090 Insulators 22,000    FILE# 000-085 Carpenters 366,000    File# 000-073 SMART  LIST 204,000 – however 42,000 are in categories listed above. Also, SMW merged with Rail in 2012/2013. Last LM-2 as SMW showed approx. 92,000 Active.

Perfect Storm because Trump’s pledge to NOT repeal Davis-Bacon is worthless and ANYONE that thinks it isn’t going to get done along with other significant anti-worker/anti-union legislation would be long on odds in Vegas. 33 states with R’s controlling the legislatures along with the Federal Branches.

Perfect Storm because nearly ¼ of our Defined Benefit Pensions are insolvent or projected to be with that number rising.  Essentially the same leadership that has lost membership also governed over these funds. DOL list of troubled pension plans link. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/public-disclosure/critical-status-notices

Perfect Storm because management is using us in every way possible and then shoving us out the door as soon as they can, because they can. The numbers we see reflect that in EVERY alliance the trades have conducted “BUSINESS” with, those alliances continue reducing our market share over time. So, management doesn’t care 2 bits about the agreements they made with us. Its business! R’s could care less about workers and especially union workers. Both are doing what they have historically done – so why in the hell are we surprised?

How about those damn D’s – well, the progressive wing and the liberal wing of the D’s have zero use for us because we keep kicking them in the head. So, when you see Facebook posts as to what have the D’s done – this is the reason. Trades are a tweener – between being not liked to hated by the politicians and even labor affiliates.  The CIO was formed within the AFL and expelled in the 30’s, to then merge again in 1955.

Why? History tells us that Brother John L. Lewis wanted to organize the millions of workers in the nation’s industrial sectors. However, the trades refused to allow women, African Americans, Asian Americans and unskilled workers into THEIR Building Trades Unions and opposed any effort by OTHER unions to organize them. So, the CIO went on their own and created the living standards that we know today. Even since the merger in 1955 the trades have had a reputation of being exclusionary to this very day. When people are polled on would they want a union in their workplace – these are the unions they are thinking about. The trades can barely give books away.

If you want to challenge that, then get a picture of the main officers of your International Union today and tell me what you see. Good ole boys to the max! Any women, people of color? The convention magazine should do nicely. Taking care of your own is one thing – locking out people because… is an entirely different issue.

So, a Perfect Storm across the board, and we have put ourselves into this storm with eyes wide open. A legacy for the last several decades of losing. But hell, those on the LM get a check, so no worries.

A MOVEMENT – long lost, to be replaced by an organization of YES MEN serving business and complaining all the way to the bank as they rah rah the Rank & File who pay every bill!  An incapable lot that keep putting the future of workers in the hands of management and politicians. And so, they lose and cast that as victory in every meeting they attend! An arrogance of a magnitude of Trump himself.

This is the last group of IPs’ of any consequence, because the deck is so stacked against us and our actions that only a radical change across the top of leadership will change that. Reaching out to communities helps, but moves far too slow for what is happening to the trades today. Plus, communities may trust the local Building Trades leaders as acting in good faith; however, many have direct experience dealing with Internationals & national BT. Just ask the Blue/Green Alliance, and many others!

Headhunters on behalf of the non/anti-union are recruiting our best trained blue chippers faster than we can reload. And retirement is taking bodies. Should those retirees lose their promised, full benefits – drive another lighting bolt into the trades self-inflicted Perfect Storm.

Reaching out to women and people of color is the last-ditch hope of the trades to keep enough bodies to stay in the game. The acknowledgement of diversity is a good step – but only a step with next to zero dollars behind it other than a few employees, PR and photo ops. IF the trades are recruiting basically anyone who will accept a book and then placing the bulk of the women and people of color in lower wage and classification situations, as they are doing now, then the trades are still using people to line their own futures.

Should women and people of color wind up in real CBA work with an upward trajectory in roles and responsibility, then and only then will the trades have changed since the 30’s. Right now, most workers recruited go into specialty agreements at cut rate wages to COMPETE on price with non-union. Being used at its max, and those workers then go to the non-union fully trained and vetted.

The trades are a LABOR POOL to non/anti-union employers – which are approximately 90% of all the workers. Do the math.

A Perfect Storm, and the IPs continue to think that rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic will change the fate of a sinking ship!

“if you see a good fight – get in it”

Danny L Caliendo
Organizer
Labor Rising/Labor Combat

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.