Top-down Organizing Campaign Adds a Signatory Contractor and 20 New Members to BAC
LDC Inc., a waterproofing company based in Southern Oregon, had always been a non-union contractor with employees who had never joined any union. When President of BAC Local 1 Oregon Matt Eleazer and Field Representative Mike Titus contacted the owner Scott Bond, it wasn’t an easy conversation. Realizing the biggest issue was a lack of trust in unions, Brother Eleazer and Brother Titus kept up a regular schedule of meetings with the company leadership, always on LDC’s turf in Southern Oregon.
“These conversations were not sales pitches. We gave our honest thoughts about the company, telling their advantages and disadvantages, and how we can work together,” said Matt Eleazer, President of BAC Local 1 Oregon. “While LDC needed manpower help, our conversations went beyond the topic, laying out how our Local could help the company as a partner, including accessing union-only and union-favored work as well as union apprenticeship and training programs.”
He added, “Our Local’s brick finisher program is very attractive to the company, and so is the support from our Union and IMI, as the company begins to look beyond their traditional work scope of waterproofing and starts to pursue broader restoration work.”
Over six months of sustained conversations, Local 1 OR signed the company as a BAC contractor. To bring LDC’s employees on board, LDC’s management and Local 1 OR coordinated meetings with the employees and promoted the Union to them. “When it’s time to deal with the sticky problem of jobs, the company bid based on non-union numbers, but we didn’t want to exclude jobs and lose trust of the employees. Instead, we used market recovery funds to allow those projects to be worked with union wages and benefits, so that all our new BAC members started off on the right foot,” said Brother Eleazer.
As a result, twenty employees of LDC were brought into BAC Local 1 OR as new members. They are reporting around 4,000 hours a month and are actively engaged in the Local’s apprenticeship program. The organizing success highlights the importance of persisting in building relationships with contractors.