Labor Issues Proving to be Impactful for Systems Integrators

News from NSCA for September 2011.
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Labor Issues Proving to be Impactful for Systems Integrators

Sep 12, 2011 3:29 PM

Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

With the current economic situation and unemployment numbers remaining significantly high, labor issues have become the forefront of small, private, public, and corporate business owners and employees alike. NSCA has been providing its members with information on these critical issues, the potentially devastating impact both in the short and long-term, as well as providing a voice to federal legislators. Overall, the key issues this summer revolve around regulatory efforts to advance key components of the “Card Check” legislation that was defeated during the last Congress. Efforts to regulate employers and processes through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) include:

  • Employers that allow charitable, well-meaning groups onto their premises to also allow union organizers, who often deter customers through boycotts and similar actions.
  • Companies to post pro-organizing notices in an estimated 6 million workplaces, the majority of which are non-union.
  • A reversal of more than 50 years of standards for bargaining units if big labor is allowed to pick groups of workers that support the union without providing an opportunity to vote to co-workers who may oppose the union.
  • Boeing to assemble certain aircraft in its unionized Washington state aircraft production plant rather than its non-unionized South Carolina plant.
  • Changes to the rulemaking, recently announced by the NLRB, which would institute “quickie” or “ambush” elections by dramatically shortening the time employers have to communicate with employees about the union campaign and limiting the ability of employers to address key legal concerns.

At first glance, some of these efforts may not seem significant to your business, but it is the impact of what some of these decisions mean and how they would change business regardless of the size of your company.

This month is a time to honor the hard work of employees and now more than ever, it is important to understand the policies, regulations, and efforts that are currently being discussed that will affect your business. To stay informed, help protect and sustain your business, or to get involved, please visit

Inside NSCA, Inside Integration

For more than a year, Chuck has been providing his thoughts on issues from the economy, healthcare, business issues such as contracts, prevailing wage, profits, bonding and more. This bi-weekly blog often encourages healthy debate on issues impacting the industry and business, both good and bad. Follow Chuck by visiting and keep up with his impressions, thoughts and suggestions for the systems integration industry. Excerpts from blog posts include:

$#IT Contracts: Contracting is About the Contracts

“I’ve been writing a lot lately about the risks, traps, and pitfalls of contracts our members are seeing lately and I have come to yet another conclusion. I’m starting to believe that much of this ridiculous contract language is coming from the IT departments within the companies. Is the contract language used to ‘purchase software, equipment, and services and to own the intellectual property (IP)’ being forced on us because security, AV, and other communications systems are networked?

Following my ‘Risky Business’ blog, a member sent me a contract that I couldn’t believe. No business owner would have willingly obligated their company to the provisions in this thing … that is if they had read it. I’m sure another integrator did just that. It was the most one-sided contract I have ever seen.

Contracting is about the contract. Regardless of whether you call yourself a contractor or an integrator, your company obligates itself via a legal, binding agreement or contract to perform a service or function for monetary exchange. I know what you’re thinking, ‘We can get out of that; we’ve worked with this customer before with no enforcement. We can justify our exclusions. The consultant must know how the IP transfers,’ etc, etc. Yep, I’ve heard all that before.”

The Great Contractor vs. Integrator Debate – 2011 version

“I was reading an article that I wrote in 2001 about transitioning your business from a contracting company to a systems integration company. In it, I wrote that we need to shift our thinking from being a sub-contractor to that of a systems integrator. I added that integrators will be able to command higher margins, won’t be tied to construction-based hourly rates, and will be perceived as representing a high-technology company.

So now fast forward to last week. While I was networking with the leaders of some of the very best, brightest and most successful systems contractors and integration firms, the question was asked once again: who here considers themself to be an integrator versus a contractor? One gentleman said he had fully transitioned into being a systems integration firm. Another said he had stayed true to his focus of being a systems contractor and had done so to maintain his relationship with other contractors on projects as well as architects and construction management firms. To transition to systems integration could cause us to alienate those companies, he said.”

Continue reading these and other blogs from Chuck Wilson at




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