The 2019 Steward School has just concluded, and what a great event it turned out to be. It is impossible to put into words all that transpired for the week, but I will try to give you a brief snapshot of what happened.
Monday afternoon was the charity golf tournament that was completely sold out. We had to add a morning flight to the schedule to accommodate all those that wished to participate. Rebecca Mages and Cathy Blackmore did an outstanding job making sure the event went off without a hitch -- although my golf game continues to get worse. On Tuesday, Lincoln Electric hosted their annual BBQ lunch at the Training Center where they showed off their latest and greatest equipment and consumables. Also, on Tuesday our 5th Annual Mathis Family Clay Shoot was held at the Tulsa Gun Club, and around 70 shooters participated in making up two flights. All monies raised went to the Voluntary Fund.
Wednesday morning, Cathy Blackmore was recognized for her 33 years of service, presenting her with Honorary Membership into Local 798. She worked under six different dispatchers during her tenure! Cathy, we all wish you the very best in your retirement!
UA Executive Vice-President Jim Moss spoke eloquently about Local 798 and the accomplishments that we have been able to attain in such a short time. He stated Local 798 has the #1 pension and the #1 health care in the UA organization. We also were proud to have UA Director of Pipeline and Gas Distribution Dave Barnett, who addressed the members talking about the challenges that we face in the pipeline industry now and into the future. Also, UA Special Representatives Chad Gilbert and Mike Mikich were present for discussions concerning our industry. Wednesday evening, the Ladies of 798 held their annual basket auction raising $124,340 for charities throughout the United States. Thanks to all the ladies and men that had a hand in putting on this event and the basket haulers, builders, and buyers who contributed, making this event successful.
Thursday, we continued through the National Pipeline Agreement and finished up with the Pipeline Industry Fund rolling out some presentations on financial planning and education for the membership. Later that evening, we honored our retired members with 50+ years of service. What a remarkable group of men who so long ago, fought and brought this Local together and have entrusted it in our hands for safe keeping. An emotional moment for me was when the inside guards once again escorted the retirees to receive their certificates; your presence as honor guards was impressive and touching. Retirees, we will be eternally in your debt for your sacrifice that ensured we would have a strong, proud, and prosperous union for generations to come.
Friday morning, Black Schroeder once again presented the Pipeline Etiquette, and Guy Williams presented the Standard of Excellence with a heavy dose of pipeline seasoning. If you did not attend these two presentations, you should mark it on your bucket list of “must do” for next year. Both of these presentations can be viewed on our website. Thank you, Brothers, for your heartfelt sincerity and servitude to Pipeliners 798. Friday afternoon we held our annual crawfish boil hosted by Miller Electric, and they too showcased all their new toys.
I thank newly appointed Inside Guard Shannon Jackson, and all the volunteers for the entire week. Without your help, none of this would be possible. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the staff inside PIBF and the Training Center for a job well done for the entire week. Local 798 Office Manager Josalyn Johnson and the 798 Office Staff once again made sure everything flowed well. Even when I didn’t follow the agenda, the staff pulled it off like true pipeliners, never letting anyone see them sweat!
The work outlook has had a paradigm shift in just the last few months. The man-hours probably will look more like 2016 which was just shy of 7 million, a very good year but a disappointment compared to what we had anticipated. Several of our big projects such as Keystone XL, Enbridge Line 3 and Atlantic Coast Pipeline continues to be bombarded with fossil fuel haters that will ultimately delay start dates for these projects. The UA, Local 798 and its membership must continue to push and advocate to get these projects back into the construction phase. My message for all the attendees at Steward School and the membership receiving this publication is, we must continue to partner with and advocate for the clients at the various meetings in support of these pipeline projects. It is vital that we exceed the clients’ expectations of members participating at this level, whether it be attending town hall meetings, signing letters to FERC or advocating via the 798 Action Network. Although we have experienced some setbacks as of late, this plan is working, and we are seeing the fruits of our labor already with more clients wanting to partner with organized labor now and into the future. You are in control of your destiny by your actions or inactions. Don’t leave the heavy lifting to others; we must all pull in unison and share the load. As Always, I am proud to say, “I work for you, the greatest pipeliners in the world.”
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, I hope that each one of you was able to spend some time with your families and enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
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Automatic Deduction for COBRA Payment is Now Available COBRA premium payments can now be deducted automatically from your bank account.