Solidarity Sunday: The Mountain Doesn't Care
To climb a mountain, you need the proper clothing and gear, training to get in shape, nutrition to fuel your journey, understanding of the fluctuations in weather, knowledge of terrain, perhaps even hiring a guide if you are unfamiliar with etc. but one thing is certain: the decision to climb it is up to you.
The mountain doesn't care if you climb it.
It is indifferent. It's going to be the mountain whether you climb it or not.
Substitute "the Market" for "the Mountain", and that's where we find ourselves moving into 2024.
According the Dodge construction forecast, the construction market is expected to rise 7% in 2024 following the 1% increase in 2023. Total starts in 2024 are predicted to reach $1.206 trillion. The market forecast by sector is mixed, with some sectors like healthcare and data center construction very favorable to what we do in the building trades unions. Couple that with a labor shortage and our opportunity to gain market share lies before us.
So how are we going to climb this mountain? It seems like everyone is attacking the labor shortage mountain in their own way. Recruiting is as hot in the construction field as it is on the football field. If you watched any of the championship games this weekend you've already seen Home Depot going all in on the labor shortage in its advertising. The rat contractors are climbing it another way through political maneuvering, grants, etc.
But we're not just seeking people, we're seeking people who want a better way. It's one thing to educate and give people opportunities for training and a career, it's quite another to give those workers recourse, power, and solidarity along the way. Yes, we're recruiting but if recruiting and organizing don't work hand-in-glove, then we are nothing more than a glorified temp agency. Attracting the right people and building a strong union culture is going have to happen at the local union level, jurisdiction by jurisdiction..
The good news is that the conditions on the 'mountain' are favorable for unions right now. Young people are more open to listening to us than they've been in a long time. Employers know this and, thanks to efforts like the UAW and Teamsters, they are talking now floating a narrative of "collaborative efforts" between labor and management because they know they cannot win the PR battle. Conditions on the mountain are in our favor.
The question for local unions is whether or not we choose to climb. Are we willing to do the work of employing new and innovative recruiting and organizing techniques that are designed to climb the mountain known as 2024? One thing is for certain, the mountain doesn't care.
How's Your 'Short' Game?
Recently we celebrated nearly 200 new Journeymen turning out in Atlanta. It was the largest collection of new journeymen wiremen in the history of the local. To promote this we produced a short video in both 16:9 as well as 9:16 aspect ratio. More and more video is short form designed for reels, shorts, and TikTok. How's your "short" game?